The Milwaukee County Board Thursday voted 13-6 to censure Supervisor Lynne De Bruin for disclosing closed-session remarks of a county administrator.
At issue: whether her release of controversial remarks by behavioral health administrator John Chianelli on mixed-gender wards at the Mental Health Complex deserved a formal censure – something not done for at least several decades. Chianelli suggested housing female patients with aggressive male patients was “tradeoff” that led to some sexual assault but a lower level of violence than would be found on all-male wards, according to De Bruin’s account of an April 14 closed-door committee meeting.
Voting in favor of censure of Supervisor DeBruin were Supervisors Paul Cesarz, Elizabeth M. Coggs, Marina Dimitrijevic, Nikiya Harris, Lee Holloway, Willie Johnson Jr., Theo Lipscomb, Michael Mayo Sr., Joseph Rice, Joe Sanfelippo, James “Luigi” Schmitt, Johnny Thomas and West voted to censure De Bruin. Voting against censure were Supervisors Mark Borkowski, Gerry Broderick, De Bruin, Patricia Jursik, Christopher Larson and John Weishan Jr.
In response to my inquiry about her vote, Supervisor Dimitrijevic noted, “Debruin broke the county board rules and violated a closed session meant to protect patients’ safety and privacy. We need to work together for a solution, she is not the victim here.”
While I understand rules are in place for a reason, the fact that Supervisor Dimitrijevic places higher importance on county board rules than she does in having the public know what’s really going on at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex is shameful and disappointing.