Taylor Slams Barrett Over Residency
Mayoral candidate cites losses since residency requirement ended by Legislature.
Senator and mayoral candidate Lena Taylor called a press conference outside City Hall Friday morning to bash Mayor Tom Barrett over a recent report illustrating the devasting effects of the elimination of the city’s residency requirement for employees.
As of August 2019, 28 percent of the city’s 6,438 employees live outside the city. The change comes after Republicans included a provision in the 2013-2015 state budget that eliminated residency requirements. The unions representing Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) and Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD) employees backed the proposal, as they had backed Governor Scott Walker in his gubernatorial run against Barrett.
Members of those two unions have also been the group of city employees most aggressively taking advantage of the ruling. Forty-five percent of both MFD and MPD employees now live outside the city.
“There is no one that bears responsibility more than Tom Barrett,” said Taylor, who was a member of the Wisconsin Senate when the proposal was passed. Calling it a crisis, Taylor said Milwaukee needs a mayor that looks out for all of the city.
The city contested the law in court, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against the city in 2016.
Taylor repeatedly attacked Barrett for appointing attorney Brett Blomme, who leads the Cream City Foundation, as head of the Board of Zoning Appeals. She criticized Blomme for not living in the city, an issue that has become part of the narrative for both Blomme and his opponent in a race for a post on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. But Blomme, whose husband and children live in Dane County, does own a house in Milwaukee.
“I will prioritize the taxpayers of the city of Milwaukee. I will prioritize the interests of the homeowners of the city of Milwaukee. And I will incentivize so that the dollars we pay out come back to the pot,” said Taylor.
The city instituted a three percent raise earlier this year only for employees living in the city.
Is it really a big deal that the residency requirement was unilaterally removed after 75 years? “We thought it would be bad and it’s bad,” said one council member who walked by the media gaggle before the press conference. Mike Gousha‘s recent report found substantial growth in the number of rental properties, particularly those owned by suburban landlords, in a number of neighborhoods long known for the heavy presence of public safety employees and owner-occupied homes. MPD recruiting classes are also getting whiter according to a department representative.
Coupled with a similar change at Milwaukee Public Schools, approximately 9,500 employees and their family members now live outside of Milwaukee.
Barrett’s campaign responded to the criticisms with a press release calling the claims “baseless and absurd.” In the statement, the campaign said: “She knows that Tom Barrett fought tooth and nail against a hostile, Republican-controlled legislature and Governor to keep them from ending residency. The facts are clear but instead of telling the truth Senator Taylor is doing what politicians often do—she’s substituting press conferences for real leadership and offers false charges hoping something can stick to her opponent and advance her political career.”
The primary election for the mayoral election is February 18th, 2020. A general election featuring the top two vote getters from the primary will be held April 7th.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
More about the 2020 Mayoral Race
- City Hall: Barrett, Taylor Debate Remotely for Mayor - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 30th, 2020
- 9 Election Takeaways - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 19th, 2020
- Vote Tuesday: Mayoral Candidates - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 14th, 2020
- City Hall: Presenting the “Real State of the City” - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 12th, 2020
- State of the Other City Address - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Feb 10th, 2020
- Barrett dodges debate? - Ald. Tony Zielinski - Feb 9th, 2020
- Slow To Question, Slow To Respond - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Jan 30th, 2020
- City Hall: Meet the Candidates for City Offices - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 15th, 2020
- City Hall: Conservative in Mayor Race Ejected - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 15th, 2020
- City Hall: Taylor Blames FPC Problems on Mayor - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 5th, 2019
- Senator Taylor calls for Barrett to resign over confusion and mismanagement of Fire and Police Commission - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Dec 5th, 2019
- Team Taylor Welcomes Tom To The 2020 Mayoral Race - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Nov 20th, 2019
- City Hall: Barrett Officially Declares Re-Election Bid - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 20th, 2019
- Statement from the Barrett for Milwaukee Campaign: Lena Taylor’s Misinformation Campaign - Press Release - Nov 15th, 2019
- City Hall: Taylor Slams Barrett Over Residency - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 15th, 2019
- The Devastating Results of Residency Law Change - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Nov 15th, 2019
- Back in the News: Poll Shows Barrett Way Ahead - Bruce Murphy - Nov 12th, 2019
- City Hall: Zielinski for Mayor Bus Ads Debut - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 7th, 2019
- City Hall: Ashanti Hamilton Ends Mayoral Bid - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 12th, 2019
- City Hall: Hamilton Could Still Run for Mayor - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 4th, 2019
- City Hall: Lena Taylor Announces Run for Mayor - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 3rd, 2019
- Murphy’s Law: Should Barrett Worry About Reelection? - Bruce Murphy - Aug 29th, 2019
- City Hall: Will He or Won’t He Run for Mayor? - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 30th, 2019
- City Hall: Will Lena Taylor Run for Mayor? - Jeramey Jannene - May 20th, 2019
- City Hall: To Host DNC, Barrett Must Be Reelected - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 14th, 2019
- City Beat: Episode 007 – Mayoral Candidate Tony Zielinski - Urban Milwaukee - Jan 8th, 2019
- City Hall: Hamilton Ally May Run for His Seat - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 12th, 2018
- City Hall: Ashanti Hamilton Files for Mayoral Run - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 29th, 2018
- City Hall: Zielinski Ramps Up Mayoral Campaign - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 10th, 2018
- Murphy’s Law: Barrett Will Run for Reelection - Bruce Murphy - Jun 28th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Zielinski Will Run for Mayor - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 29th, 2017