Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Council Wants Ann Wilson Off Fire & Police Commission

9-6 vote against her reappointment. But they lack the authority to remove her.

By - Mar 24th, 2021 11:01 am
Mayor Tom Barrett and Ann Wilson accept a grant in 2018. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Mayor Tom Barrett and Ann Wilson accept a grant in 2018. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

After four months of debate, including an Inspector General’s report and closed session meetings, the Common Council made it official. Members voted 9-6 to reject the reappointment of Fire & Police Commission (FPC) member Ann Wilson.

But the vote is largely symbolic.

Wilson has already been serving with an expired appointment since 2018. Appointees in the City of Milwaukee serve until replaced or they resign.

The issue with Wilson isn’t specific to her. At multiple times throughout the past few months, council members went out their way to point out that they like Wilson, 73, as a person. She’s served the city for years as manager of the Hillside Terrace Resource Center for the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee.

“I don’t want it to go without saying that Ann Wilson has been a great public servant,” said Alderman Ashanti Hamilton on Tuesday. Hamilton was joined in voting for her reappointment by council members Nik Kovac, Nikiya Dodd, Milele A. Coggs, Khalif Rainey and Russell W. Stamper, II.

But council members, even those still backing Wilson, are frustrated with the fallout from the hasty demotion of Police Chief Alfonso Morales and other issues at the Fire & Police Commission.

Wilson is the first FPC member to appear before the council for re-appointment since the August vote. Two of the seven members, Raymond Robakowski and Steven M. DeVougas, have resigned. Morales has already secured one court ruling in his favor and is expected to eventually secure a substantial settlement from the city.

Mayor Tom Barrett reappointed Wilson in December.

Will he now ask her to resign? “No. The first focus is identifying a commissioner to fill the DeVougas seat,” said new mayoral spokesperson Jeff Fleming via text message. Robakowski was already replaced by Amanda Avalos.

Much of the current issue with the Morales decision and the FPC centers on when and if guidance on the Morales vote was issued by the City Attorney, Tearman Spencer. A report sided with him.

Wilson has refuted those findings.

“The only thing I would like to say, is that all the things that have been said, some are true, some are not, we have been through all of that, but I would like to serve again,” said Wilson on March 8th during a final committee appearance.

Why wasn’t Wilson reappointed when her term originally expired? She wasn’t legally eligible to serve on the commission at the time. Wilson had moved to the Glendale. She’s now back in the City of Milwaukee.

Barrett did previously submit a replacement for Wilson. In early 2019 the council rejected a potential replacement, retired Milwaukee Police Department employee Denise Bartlett, after she publicly sparred with the council.

All commission appointees, a part-time post responsible for hiring, firing, discipline and policy oversight of the police and fire departments, are nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the council.

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Categories: City Hall, Politics, Weekly

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