Washington, Burgos Join Fire-Police Board
City Fire & Police Commission now has a record eight members.
The Fire & Police Commission, the oversight body for Milwaukee’s public safety departments, is bigger than than it ever has been.
The Common Council unanimously confirmed two new members Tuesday morning. Retired Milwaukee Fire Department assistant chief and current Menomonee Falls Fire Chief Gerard Washington and retired Milwaukee Police Department lieutenant Ruben Burgos were added to the commission.
Both of the new members are lifelong Milwaukee residents. “I know my city and I want to help [MPD] move forward,” Burgos said at his Sept. 9 confirmation hearing.
“I have a love for this city. I hear, I see, I have an understanding of the challenges,” said Washington.
Despite being formally retired from Milwaukee’s public safety departments (Burgos after 33 years and Washington after 27) both are still remarkably active. Washington is a suburban fire chief and works with GovHR to help hire fire chiefs in other cities. Burgos is a lecturer at UW-Milwaukee’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, board president of the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, board member of the National Latino Peace Officers Association and head of security for Mexican Fiesta.
Their appointment comes just after another member resigned. Joan Kessler, a retired state appeals court judge and U.S. attorney, was appointed in 2021 as part of a three-member-appointment to overhaul the then-troubled commission. She resigned earlier this month for undisclosed personal reasons, but drew strong praise from her fellow commissioners.
“Commissioner Kessler’s work ethic and leadership served as examples for her fellow commissioners,” said chair Edward Fallone on Sept. 15.
With the two new members, the commission has eight members for the first time.
Washington and Burgos are the second and third nominations Mayor Cavalier Johnson has made to the commission. While serving as acting mayor, he successfully appointed Bree Spencer, who was confirmed in 2022. She replaced retired firefighter Everett Cocroft, who relocated to Las Vegas.
Only a single board member, Fred Crouther, remains from the botched demotion of police chief Alfonso Morales. The city paid approximately $600,000 in a legal settlement as a result. Crouther’s term expires in 2024.
Johnson, as part of a broader public safety plan, committed to filling the commission with nine members. But how soon he will appoint a ninth member is unclear. Administration officials have previously said it is the most complicated part-time appointment the mayor makes because of the lengthy background check required and the difficulty of finding individuals with the willingness and skillset to serve.
- City Hall: Johnson Names Former Deputy City Attorney To Fire & Police Commission - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 2nd, 2022
- City Hall: Washington, Burgos Join Fire-Police Board - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 20th, 2022
- City Hall: Kessler Resigns From Fire-Police Board - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 19th, 2022
- City Hall: Committee Backs Johnson’s FPC Nominees - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 9th, 2022
- City Hall: Mayor Acts To Create Full Fire & Police Commission - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 12th, 2022
- City Hall: Bree Spencer Named To Fire & Police Commission - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 9th, 2022
- FPC Suspends Residency Preference For Police, Fire Promotions - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 7th, 2021
- City Hall: Committee Endorses Dana World-Patterson’s Appointment To FPC - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 2nd, 2021
- City Hall: Dana World-Patterson Nominated to FPC - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 9th, 2021
- City Hall: Jeffrey Norman Named Permanent Chief of Police - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 4th, 2021
Read more about Fire & Police Commission's Troubles here