Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Nicholson Picks New Board’s Leaders

While new board chair rewarded some allies, some who opposed her retained positions.

By - May 6th, 2020 12:51 pm
Marcelia Nicholson. Photo from Milwaukee County.

Marcelia Nicholson. Photo from Milwaukee County.

New Milwaukee County Board Chair Marcelia Nicholson recently released her committee assignments for the 2020-2022 term.

Her assignments show, for the most part, no major rifts in the board from the contest for leadership between Nicholson and Supervisor Willie Johnson, Jr.

Notably, a number of supervisors who voted against Nicholson in her bid for the chair position have retained their seats as chairs of various committees. That may also be because a number of Nicholson’s backers for the chair are just starting their first term as supervisors. Also, Nicholson is moving to create a new committee and is appointing her Vice-Chair Sup. Sequanna Taylor to chair it.

Thus John Weishan, Jr., who has long chaired the Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee, held onto his chairmanship of that committee despite supporting Johnson for board chair. And Sup. Supreme Moore Omokunde retained his chairmanship of the Health and Human Needs Committee after backing Johnson. And Sup. Tony Staskunas, who is an attorney, remains Chair of the Judiciary, Safety and General Services Committee.

In a statement announcing the committee assignments Nicholson said, “I’m confident that the supervisors I have appointed as chairs will ensure the Board conducts our business efficiently and effectively, and work with me to build a stronger collaborative relationship with County Executive David Crowley.”

Johnson was not given chair of any committees. Though, he remains vice-chair on both the Finance and Audit Committee and the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

Nicholson also rewarded her allies. Notably, Supervisors Jason Haas and Felesia Martin

Haas was given the chair of the powerful Finance and Audit Committee which provides oversight of Milwaukee County finances and spending, as well as being the committee that works on the county’s annual budget before it goes to the full board for approval.

As the board’s top leader, Nicholson cannot chair any committees. Under former Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr., she was chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee. Nicholson has now appointed Martin to that position. This powerful committee oversees land transfers, property sales, redevelopment of county-owned properties and the disbursement of block grants for development.

Haas may not be chair of the Finance and Audit committee for long. It may soon be just the Finance Committee, as Nicholson has announced she will seek board approval of a new committee, the Audit Committee. This committee, Nicholson says, will provide oversight on matters of racial equity. And she has appointed Taylor to chair this committee, should the board approve its creation.

Other committee assignments include Sup. Sheldon Wasserman moving up to chair the Parks, Energy and Environment Committee. Sup. Eddie Cullen stays on as chair of the Personnel Committee. And Sup. Joseph Czarnecki, who has served in past decades in both chambers of the State Legislature, was appointed to chair the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

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Categories: MKE County, Politics

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