Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Council At Odds On Committee Assignments

But Pérez pledges to install Ald. Pratt as a vice chair within six months.

By - May 6th, 2024 06:54 pm
The Steering & Rules Committee debates Andrea Pratt's two-committee minimum proposal. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Steering & Rules Committee debates Andrea Pratt’s two-committee minimum proposal. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The fallout from the Common Council President race continues reverberating through City Hall.

On April 16, José G. Pérez won the race over Milele A. Coggs on a 10-5 vote, but now faces opposition for how he doled out committee assignments and powerful chairmanships.

Now the council appears headed for another divided vote.

A proposal from Alderwoman Andrea Pratt would ensure that each member is given at least two assignments on the council’s seven committees.

Pratt introduced the legislation after Pérez left her with only a single assignment, which she said was a first, while others got three posts. Monday’s Steering & Rules Committee served as the first official committee meeting of the 2024-2028 cycle.

“Should I also not have the opportunity to be nurtured as a new leader?” asked Pratt, referencing a line from Perez’ press release announcing the appointments

But Ald. JoCasta Zamarripa said she believed the matter was resolved; Pratt is to be appointed vice chair of the Judiciary & Legislation Committee within six months. Pérez said that was true; he appointed himself vice chair temporarily to aid newly-elected Alderman DiAndre Jackson in serving as committee chair.

Pérez, as Urban Milwaukee previously confirmed by background discussions with several City Hall insiders, offered the position to Coggs and others before giving it to Jackson.

“I just want to acknowledge that there has been a serious misunderstanding by Alderwoman Pratt and I,” said Pérez after passing the gavel to be able to make a motion. He affirmed that he intended to appoint Pratt the judiciary committee vice chair within six months. “I just don’t think we should change the rules because of this situation. And I look forward to working with everyone going forward.”

He made the remarks to a nearly full committee room, which included many Hispanic community leaders in attendance to support Pérez. Others attended in support of Pratt.

Coggs, participating virtually, said it was “very logical legislation” and should be adopted regardless of the current situation. “In four years there may be a different president than may feel differently than President Pérez.”

She, and Ald. Mark Chambers, Jr., also said it was a matter of fairness to constituents. “We’re raising people’s pay to sit on one committee? I don’t think that’s what any of our constituents wanted.”

Ald. Scott Spiker said Pratt should show up until she’s given a seat, as he has done at other committees.

“I intend to be present,” said the alderwoman. “I have a note on my door that says, ‘When they don’t invite you to the table, bring the folding chair,’ and that’s what I intend to do.”

When it came time to vote, Pérez’ motion to kill the proposal prevailed 7 to 1. Ald. Russell W. Stamper, II was the lone committee member to vote against his motion. Pérez, Spiker, Jackson, Zamarripa, Marina Dimitrijevic, Robert Bauman and Jonathan Brostoff voted to “place on file” the proposal, the procedural move to reject the proposal.

Only committee chairs, all of whom voted for Pérez to be president, sit on the Steering & Rules Committee. But the full council will still review the proposal.

Also present in the room were Coggs supporters Sharlen P. Moore and Larresa Taylor and Perez backer Peter Burgelis. The only council member not present at Monday’s meeting was Lamont Westmoreland.

But even if it’s adopted, its implementation would not be retroactive, said City Clerk Jim Owczarski. It would only be invoked when Pérez issues new assignments.

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Related Legislation: File 240024

Categories: City Hall, Politics

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