Two city leaders have asked the Milwaukee County district attorney to consider prosecuting health officials over their handling of the lead crisis.
Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton and Ald. Bob Donovan said in a letter Monday to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm that something went “dreadfully wrong” with the Milwaukee Health Department’s oversight of its lead abatement programs.
“While we continue to wait for an audit of the Health Department to begin in the coming weeks, we also thought prudent to contact you and ask if there were any circumstances that you believe could rise to the level of prosecutable offense,” they wrote.
City officials say the problems occurred late in the tenure of ousted Health Commissioner Bevan Baker. Although no other health official was named in the letter, it did state that other top administrative officials were also to blame.
Earlier Monday, the members of Freshwater for Life Action Coalition and Get The Lead Out, two groups that have criticized the city’s handling of lead, called out Common Council members for not responding to questions they had after meeting with top health officials last month.
City officials said the groups’ information was “not factual or based on a current understanding of science.”
The city Health Department, the district attorney’s office and Mayor Tom Barrett did not immediately respond to an NNS request for comment.
Robert Miranda says
For Immediate Release
April 23, 2019
For More Information Contact
Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC) & Get The Lead Out Coalition (GTLO) Support Letter To Milwaukee County District Attorney By Milwaukee Alderpersons
Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC) & Get The Lead Out Coalition (GTLO) call on Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to advance efforts to support the call for an investigation of the Milwaukee Health Department, specially the lead abatement program by Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton and Chairman of the Public Safety and Health Committee Robert Donovan.
Last week FLAC/GLTO met with District Attorney Chisholm and his investigators as a follow up to our call to investigate the Health Department last year.
“We left the meeting assured that the DA is still reviewing this matter”, said Robert Miranda, Spokesperson for the Freshwater For Life Action Coalition.
It is critical that trust is restored in our public officials as we tackle this public health issue that continues to put Milwaukee residents at risk. Too much harm has been done in recent years to simply count on the assurances of city leaders. We believe a rigorous investigation would be a critical step forward in repairing this harm.