Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton today announced the committee assignments for the 2016-2020 Milwaukee Common Council class, including the seven members who will be tasked with chairing the council’s standing committees.
With 15 members on the Common Council and more than a century of legislative experience among them, President Hamilton said the process of determining committee chairs offered him an embarrassment of riches, in terms of options.
“In surveying council members as to their interest in the various committees, I found a universal and unwavering commitment to the City of Milwaukee, and to addressing the issues this city faces,” President Hamilton said. “The resulting assignments reflect the best possible alignment of our talents and our resources to address the economic, social and racial disparities that exist in our city, to improve the quality and efficiency of city services, to work with the Mayor to ensure that economic development opportunities more directly benefit the entire city, and to explore more creative, outcome-based strategies of ensuring public safety.”
Alderman Jim Bohl will continue his tenure as the chair of the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee, and Alderman Tony Zielinski will return to his position as the chair of the Licenses Committee, Alderman Hamilton said.
“Alderman Bohl brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the committee, and has overseen the approvals process for landmark projects like the Northwestern Mutual tower and the new Bucks arena,” President Hamilton said. “Alderman Zielinski has helped to streamline the application process on the Licenses Committee and has made hearings run more efficiently during his time as chair, and I’m grateful for his continued leadership in that capacity.”
Charged with overseeing the city budget process and other financial matters, the Finance and Personnel Committee will now be chaired by Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs. “Alderwoman Coggs has proven herself as a fierce advocate for transparent and inclusive government,” President Hamilton said. “During her time as vice chair of this same body, she has demonstrated an even-handed approach to finances that will serve this city well.”
The council’s most experienced member, Alderman Michael J. Murphy will chair the Judiciary and Legislation Committee. “Alderman Murphy is a proven leader whose knowledge of the statewide legislative matters the city must navigate is unparalleled,” President Hamilton said. “His extensive experience as a committee chair is invaluable to the council.”
President Hamilton has tapped Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II to chair the Community and Economic Development Committee. “As vice chair of CED, Alderman Stamper demonstrated the leadership needed to manage this committee when called upon to do so, and his dedication to local workforce development in the areas that need it most speaks for itself,” President Hamilton said.
With 24 years of legislative experience, Alderman Mark A. Borkowski will chair the Public Works Committee. “I’m excited to tap into the wealth of experience Alderman Borkowski offers as a result of his years on the Milwaukee County Board,” President Hamilton said. “He has shown a deep interest in infrastructure improvement, and will serve as an excellent advocate for constituent services.”
And rounding out the committee chairs, President Hamilton said he has selected Alderman Robert G. Donovan as the chair of the Public Safety Committee. “‘Fightin’ Bob has previously demonstrated his ability to serve in this capacity,” President Hamilton said, “and he is dedicated to improved accountability and new ideas in our efforts to improve public safety.”
President Hamilton also reaffirmed his commitment to the mentorship of young leadership on the Common Council by appointing each of the freshman members as a vice chair. Newly-elected Alderman Cavalier Johnson will serve as the vice chair of the Judiciary and Legislation Committee, Alderman Khalif Rainey will serve as the vice chair of the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee, and Alderwoman Chantia Lewis will serve as vice chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee.
“With their appointment to serve in leadership roles alongside knowledgeable, seasoned veterans of the Common Council, we are preparing these elected officials to serve their constituents effectively and lead our city into the future,” President Hamilton said. “In meeting and speaking with these new leaders, I can say, definitively, that future is bright.”
Alderman José G. Pérez will serve as the vice chair of the Licenses Committee, Alderman Tony Zielinski will serve as the vice chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee, Alderman Robert Bauman will serve as the vice chair of the Public Works Committee and Alderman Mark A. Borkowski will serve as the vice chair of the Public Safety Committee.
“The depth and breadth of experience in this Common Council class is hard to fathom,” President Hamilton said. “I greatly appreciate the expertise that Alderman Terry L. Witkowski’s decades of civil service will lend to the Public Safety Committee and the Finance and Personnel Committee, and I’m grateful to have Alderman Nik Kovac’s attention to detail in zoning matters and knowledge of city services represented on the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee and the Public Works Committee.”