Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Johnson Names Former Deputy City Attorney To Fire & Police Commission

Miriam Horwitz would be commission's ninth member, fulfilling mayor's campaign pledge.

By - Nov 2nd, 2022 04:05 pm
Miriam Horwitz. Photo provided.

Miriam Horwitz. Photo provided.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson has found a new member for the city’s powerful police and fire oversight board. And it’s someone intimately familiar with how the board works.

Johnson announced Wednesday morning he’s appointed former deputy city attorney Miriam Horwitz to replace Joan Kessler, who resigned in September. Horwitz spent 20 years with the City Attorney’s Office before retiring in November 2020 and entering private practice.

During her time with the city Horwitz worked directly with the Fire & Police Commission, a board she’s now being nominated to serve on. The part-time, citizen-led board is responsible for oversight of both the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee Fire Department, including hiring, firing, discipline and policy.

Horwitz played a role in the botched demotion of then-police chief Alfonso Morales in 2020, providing a written opinion to the commission amongst other correspondence. An investigation by the city’s Inspector General found the commission acted against the guidance of the City Attorney’s Office and the city ultimately paid an approximately $600,000 settlement.

The attorney currently works for Goldstein Law Group supporting private and municipal employers on employment law. Horwitz, who backed Grant Langley‘s failed 2020 re-election bid, was one of several attorneys to leave the city office in Tearman Spencer‘s first year. In a 2021 letter, she criticized Spencer as being “not qualified for the job” and urged the council to consider removing him.

The full council must confirm Horwitz’s nomination. Commissioners serve in a part-time capacity, earning $6,600 per year for participating in regularly-scheduled, evening meetings. They are appointed for a five-year term.

Johnson Fulfilling Campaign Pledge

Johnson, in nominating Horwitz, is also fulfilling a campaign pledge to fill the public safety oversight board for the first time in its history. The state increased the maximum size to nine approximately a decade ago, but former Mayor Tom Barrett never appointed a full complement of members.

Kessler, a former judge and U.S. attorney, served on the board from July 2021 through September 2022. She’s married to former state representative Fred Kessler and resigned for personal reasons, drawing praise from the other members for the example she set during her short tenure.

Her resignation came as the nominations of two new members, retired Milwaukee police Lieutenant Ruben Burgos and retired Milwaukee Fire Assistant Chief Gerard Washington, were pending. Burgos and Washington have since been confirmed. Only a single member, Fred Crouther, remains from the botched Morales demotion.

Categories: City Hall, Politics, Weekly

One thought on “City Hall: Johnson Names Former Deputy City Attorney To Fire & Police Commission”

  1. gerrybroderick says:

    What a great choice. The Mayor should be commended.

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