Resignations Rock Fire & Police Commission
In process of hiring police chief, the commission is now without an executive director and tie-breaking commissioner.
Milwaukee’s Fire & Police Commission continues to be an unstable place.
Executive Director Griselda Aldrete, who pulled out of a necessary confirmation process in July when it appeared the council might reject her reappointment, previously said she was staying in her position until her replacement was found.
Aldrete has held the job since September 2019, coming aboard as a highly regarded candidate before clashing with the Common Council on multiple occasions. When she took the position she was the third executive director in a three years.
The mayoral appointee manages the independent commission that is in charge of policies, hiring, firing and discipline for the city’s public safety departments. The executive director both oversees the full-time staff as well as serving as the secretary for the appointed board. For much of her tenure approximately half of the commission’s 28 funded positions were empty.
The resignation comes at a pivotal time. The commission’s board is in the process of hiring both a new police chief and fire chief. The commission, of which the director is not a voting member, demoted Chief Alfonso Morales in August and the former chief is now in the process of suing the city.
When will a replacement come? “We have winnowed out the candidate pool,” Barrett said Friday afternoon. “I will begin interviewing them next week.”
“My plan is to get a recommendation to the council probably around Thanksgiving,” he said. “I am very thankful for the work she’s done. As you all know that’s a very tough job.”
Who will lead the commission’s full-time staff in the mean time? Barrett didn’t name a specific individual. “The office will be managed internally,” he said.
But Aldrete’s resignation isn’t the only resignation the commission faces. Comissioner Raymond Robakowski also is resigning.
Robakowski, a former police officer, was appointed in December 2019 and immediately provided the needed second for procedural motion advancing a special meeting to give Morales a full four-year term. By August, Robakowski was one of the vocal leaders in the unanimous move to demote him.
Robakowski’s resignation also sets up the potential for a tie vote on who the next police chief should be. The board has narrowed the field to three candidates.
Aldrete, asked to read an item into the record, interjected to state that she was not influencing the process while Soler, participating virtually, repeatedly called her “out of order.”
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