Council to Review Fire & Police Commission
Sudden review comes after FPC cancels meeting and troubles at commission reported.
It’s been quite the week for the Fire & Police Commission, Milwaukee’s independent oversight body for its public safety departments.
Monday morning veteran investigator Cheryl Patane announced her resignation with a public letter to city officials and the nine commissioners. By the end of the day at least one commissioner, Nelson Soler, had weighed in publicly by replying to everyone Patane had emailed and stating he was “deeply concerned” with the future of the commission’s oversight role.
Patane said Executive Director Griselda Aldrete, who has led the department since August, has demonstrated a “frightening ignorance” of how the commission functions. “This workplace changed from a collaborative, knowledgeable and seasoned team of public servants to a hostile, toxic, and retaliatory place guided by inexperience, ignorance and indifference,” wrote Patane in a four-page letter. Patane’s resignation was the second such public one following operations manager Clifton Crump in early September. Patane said eight of the commission’s 13 employees have taken medical leave, resigned or been terminated since Aldrete was appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett and confirmed by the council.
In his email Soler praised Patane as an “asset” and “great resource.” Soler, vice chairman of the commission, is the president and founder of the Latino Chamber of Commerce and head of the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute. “I am saddened to hear this and deeply concerned with the future of FPC oversight function. Too many perturbing changes to just include in an email,” wrote Soler in response to Patane. Soler did not respond to a call for comment by the time of publication.
Is someone about to sue the city regarding the commission? Patane’s letter does allege that Aldrete is “taking a hands-off approach to her statutory obligations.” She also wrote that the “management team” is failing to implement the requirements of the settlement with the complicated American Civil Liberties Union settlement.
Aldrete did not respond to a request for comment.
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Read more about Fire & Police Commission's Troubles here