Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Crowley, Nicholson Seek To Revive Youth Commission

Crowley served on it as a teen. Commission will review county policies, programs for youth.

By - May 17th, 2022 05:16 pm
David Crowley and Marcelia Nicholson.

David Crowley and Marcelia Nicholson.

Milwaukee County’s top elected officials are trying to re-establish the Milwaukee County Youth Commission.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson introduced their proposal to the county board’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee Tuesday. It would restart the commission, giving it even more responsibility than it had the first time around.

The youth commission was first established in 2002, but has not operated for some time. Crowley said that there was an attempt to revive it approximately a decade ago, when he was serving as a legislative aide to former supervisor and current alderwoman Nikiya Dodd. The youth commission was Crowley’s first experience with public service

“I was actually a member of the old – not that old though – Milwaukee County Youth Commission,” Crowley said, “and so it was on that youth commission that I first realized the power that every person really has in the community.”

During his 2022 State of the County speech, Crowley declared that it would be the “Year of the Youth.” While this proposal is not explicitly a part of that declaration, it is in line with the spirit of Crowley’s announcement for the year.

Chairwoman Nicholson said the original commission was responsible for evaluating program proposals from youth groups. “We want to go a little deeper this time,” she said.

She and the county executive are proposing that the revived commission would once again preview youth program proposals, draft and adapt its own governing bylaws, review policy and budget proposals that affect youth as well as the effectiveness of county programs and services, provide an annual report to the county board on its activities, promote an annual “Take a Child to Work Day” and even advise the county executive and county board.

“We’re constantly revising our programs that serve our youth,” Nicholson said, “and so they should have a seat at the table.”

Nicholson noted that the county has the Commission on Aging and the Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and that the youth commission would function like these groups and “serve as vehicles for those voices to be heard and to help dictate policy.”

The commission will be made up of at least 20 high-school-age youths, with at least one child from each supervisory district. The county executive and chairperson will each appoint a young person to serve as co-chair of the body. There will be five adult advisors, two appointed by the chairperson, two by the county executive and one by the commission.

The commission, as described, would be similar to the City of Milwaukee’s Milwaukee Youth Council.

Crowley said the commission will get more young people interested and involved in government, specifically local government.

“Who knows, maybe there will be a future county board supervisor, a committee chair, or chairwoman or the next county executive who will be amongst these members of the youth commission,” he said.

The proposal was unanimously approved by the Intergovernmental Relations Committee, and next goes to the full board for a vote.

If approved, the county will use an estimated $27,000 to provide the commission with the technical support it needs, and to pay the youth a $12.50-per-hour stipend for meetings.

Categories: MKE County, Politics, Weekly

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