In Ongoing Dispute With Milwaukee’s Mayor, Common Council Makes Worst Decision Ever

No really, if this isn’t the worst idea ever for the Common Council, it has to come pretty close.

After the shine had come off the copper for Police Chief Edward Flynn, there were continued disputes between the Common Council, Mayor Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission and Milwaukee citizens at large. There have been many moving chess pieces…changes in the FPC, the chief moving on to greener pastures and the Common Council working to gain more authority over the firing of the chief. Major changes like that require approvals by the Wisconsin Legislature.

But now the Common Council is discussing changing the way Milwaukee selects its police chief. Currently the chief is hired and vetted by the Fire and Police Commission. The FPC consists of individuals appointed by the mayor and the appointments are approved by the Common Council. So the commission is installed by elected officials but on a certain level should have reduced political influence than straight on electeds. This is a model commission studied by other government entities and emulated elsewhere.

So how would the Common Council improve how we select our police chief? Have the public elect them! Have politicians run for chief. Supposedly the commission picks the most suited law enforcement person they can find…but now we get to select them via yard signs and clip boards and probably outside money and political action committees. I can’t think of anything I’d love more than have one of the Koch brothers’ groups weigh in and contribute campaign funds in a race for Milwaukee Chief of Police. Or to have a chief who will spend time that should be devoted to law enforcement in fund raising or getting ready to run for re-election every four years.

The Common Council is debating a new proposal that would permit the City of Milwaukee to make the position of police chief an elected one — putting the selection process in the hands of the voters. The resolution is sponsored by Ald. Khalif Rainey.

“What we do is we allow the actual public, which is being policed by these police officers, to have a say in the neighborhood, because clearly right now what’s occurring isn’t effective,” said Rainey. “So what I’m attempting to do is to see if there is possibly another means of bringing leadership to our community.”

Now I know that Chief Flynn was unpopular in many quarters. But I don’t think we should throw out the current process for a half assed election process instead just because we didn’t like the chief. If there are some issues with the commission that need to be fixed, let’s fix them.

And we have first hand, right here in our county, proof positive that this is a horrible idea: former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke!

Ald. Robert Bauman argued that “the electoral system is not a guarantee of accountability whatsoever.” He cited the example of former Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., who he called an “absolute disaster” and a “demagogue” who was accountable to no one.

It’s apparently cold in hell today because I agree with Ald. Bauman!

Mayoral Candidate Alderman Zielinski on Chief Flynn’s Retirement

And a further statement about the resignation of Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn from mayoral candidate, Alderman Tony Zielinski who represents the 14th District:

There should be no golden parachute for Chief Flynn

Statement of Alderman Tony Zielinski
January 8, 2018

With Chief Flynn’s announcement this afternoon that he will be leaving his post with two years
left on his contract, I am adamant that there be no buy-out provision executed that lines the
chief’s pockets at the expense of the taxpayers of the City of Milwaukee.

I am working to get a copy of the terms of his contract to see what the specific language states
about early departure, but I sure hope there’s not a golden parachute that will benefit the Chief.

Quite frankly I do not believe Chief Flynn should be rewarded for a lackluster tenure that
increasingly saw him brushing off or even ignoring Council members, the Fire and Police
Commission, and ultimately the citizens of Milwaukee.

MKE Common Council Reaffirms Its Hypocrisy!

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn abruptly announced his resignation on Monday effective February 16th after having completed ten years of service to Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department. His tenure wasn’t without controversy but he made some significant changes on how the police department was organized and introduced new technology and new methods of policing that for the most part improved public safety in Milwaukee. He has just under 2 years left of his four year term.

Well where does the Milwaukee Common Council come into play here and what hypocrisy is involved? Just a few short months ago they were complaining about Chief Flynn and his running of the police department…but mostly pissed about his lack of deference to the aldermen themselves. They were lobbying Madison to allow them to override the Fire and Police Commission, which hires and fires the police and fire chief, to allow the Common Council to fire the police chief (note: just the police chief which smacks of a vendetta here…not good governance).

My two previous posts on the subject are: Milwaukee Common Council Needs to Make Up Its Mind and MKE Common Council Joint Statement On Chief Flynn and Fire and Police Commission.

So here’s where the H word comes into play…the Common Council released another one of its joint statements extolling the Fire and Police Commission and their ability to recruit and hire the next police chief. The very same FPC that they wanted to take control from just a few months ago. Pretty nervy even for the Milwaukee Common Council. Here’s the text:

Isn’t that rich? The FPC was designed to prevent political meddling…which is exactly what the common council was doing 5 months ago. The FPC was established by state statute…the very statute the common council wanted amended in their favor just 5 months ago. And they support whatever process the FPC uses to recruit the next police chief…well…until they don’t.

I would hate to be on the short list of candidates when those candidates research how the last police chief was treated by city hall. It may make it harder to recruit the truly qualified candidate the city needs right now. And in the meantime, I suggest we drain the swamp that is taking over the common council chambers here in Milwaukee!

Side Note on Police High Speed Pursuit.

Now I don’t know what is the better police pursuit policy…only chasing violent criminals and suspected felons…or pursuing every suspect that police come in contact with…that is what the current discussion with the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission and Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn will hopefully determine. But while researching MKE Common Council Joint Statement On Chief Flynn and Fire and Police Commission tonight onJSOnline, I came across these headlines and more: