Commission Ties Again on Picking Milwaukee’s Next Police Chief
Mahaley or Aziz? Commission still can't decide.
It happened again. The Fire & Police Commission deadlocked on a 3-3 vote on who should serve as Milwaukee’s next police chief.
“I think the struggle I am having with the appointment, on one hand, is a good one,” said Commissioner Ann Wilson. “We have had three outstanding candidates, the challenging part is we can only appoint one.” But she’s still backing Mahaley.
“Not being from Milwaukee doesn’t mean that you don’t align yourself with the community and don’t have the community’s interests at heart,” said Commissioner Angela McKenzie. She’s backing Aziz and said he brings a fresh set of eyes.
The deadlock comes after the commission narrowed the field to three candidates in closed session in October and then held two public town hall meetings in November. Amidst a string of controversial meetings to ratify the chief selection process, Commissioner Raymond Robakowski resigned setting up a potential tie.
“The commission’s split speaks to the quality of both candidates,” said DeVougas.
A tie-breaker could be on the way. Mayor Tom Barrett has nominated Amanda Avalos to serve as a new member of the commission. He’s also reappointed Wilson. A public meeting is scheduled for both candidates on Saturday. The Common Council will hold confirmation hearings for both on Monday morning and could cast final votes on each next week. Either adding Avalos or rejecting Wilson’s reappointment would effectively break the tie. Council members have expressed skepticism with the idea of appointing Avalos and creating a situation where a new member, the commission’s youngest at 30, would be tasked with essentially picking the next chief.
The body does have a deadline looming. Acting Chief Michael Brunson is slated to retire on December 23rd. It could appoint another acting chief. The vacancy was created when the commission demoted then-chief Alfonso Morales in August.
The commission could run into another issue – losing a candidate. Aziz emerged as a finalist for the top job in Dallas this week. He’s been a finalist in other cities before.
A third candidate Chris Davis, Portland Police Bureau Deputy Chief, drew no votes from the commission. Davis has emerged as a finalist for the Madison police chief opening.
For more on the candidates and the stalemate, see our coverage from last week.
The commission will meet again on January 7th to consider the selection.
- City Hall: City Attorney Issues Confidential Opinion Regarding Morales Demotion - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 15th, 2021
- City Hall: Committee Rejects Ann Wilson’s FPC Reappointment - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 7th, 2021
- Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office Completes FPC Background Investigation - Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office - Jan 7th, 2021
- FPC should halt selection of new police chief - Common Council President Cavalier Johnson - Jan 4th, 2021
- Op Ed: Mayor Barrett Is Asleep At The Switch - Jordan Morales - Dec 26th, 2020
- City Hall: Judge Restores Alfonso Morales As Police Chief - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 18th, 2020
- Jeffrey Norman Will Serve as Acting Police Chief - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 18th, 2020
- City Hall: Avalos Confirmation On Hold Because of FPC Misstep - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 14th, 2020
- City Hall: Committee Backs Leon Todd to Lead FPC - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 14th, 2020
- Commission Ties Again on Picking Milwaukee’s Next Police Chief - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 10th, 2020
Read more about Fire & Police Commission's Troubles here