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: Barrett Replacing FPC Chair, Vice Chair - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 9th, 2021
- City Hall: New Policies Incentivize City Residency for Milwaukee Police, Firefighters - Jeramey Jannene - May 24th, 2021
- City Hall: Judge Orders Alfonso Morales Gets His Job Back in 45 Days - Jeramey Jannene - May 19th, 2021
- City Hall: Police Chief Search Loses a Top Candidate - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 29th, 2021
- City Hall: Council Wants Ann Wilson Off Fire & Police Commission - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 24th, 2021
- City Hall: Another Council Committee Opposes Wilson - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 10th, 2021
- Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement: - Mayor Tom Barrett - Feb 15th, 2021
- City Hall: DeVougas Resigns From Fire & Police Commission - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 15th, 2021
- City Hall: FPC Members, City Attorney Blew Off Inspector General Interview Requests - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 15th, 2021
- City Hall: Attorney Didn’t Want Inspector General Report Made Public - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 12th, 2021
Read more about Fire & Police Commission's Troubles here