June 20, 2011
NEWS FROM THE MAYOR
The 2011-2013 State Budget is now in the hands of Governor Walker. On Friday, I sent a letter to him requesting he use his line-item veto authority on three items that have a negative impact on Milwaukee taxpayers.
One of these provisions, slipped in at the last minute, would again force the City to pay fired police officers while their appeal is pending before the Fire and Police Commission. The majority of officers fired are for serious offenses such as lying, refusal to follow an order and engaging in sexual activity while on duty. Police officers already have significant protection from arbitrary firings. The police chief must meet statutory requirements that no other police chief in the state must meet. Police officers are represented by unions and can appeal firings to the Fire and Police commission. Officers are paid for the 60 days Milwaukee is required to wait before scheduling an appeal hearing, while all other cities can convene a hearing in just 10 days. Officers can also take issues to circuit court. Few officers are reinstated, but if a firing is determined to be unjustified, officers are given back pay and benefits.
We don’t pay fired sanitation workers, librarians or public health nurses, and I can’t think of another job in the state where individuals would be paid after being fired for lying or engaging in sexual activity on the job. This is just another example of politicians paying back a special interest group for support in the last election.
This law was originally changed in 2009. Prior to 2009, taxpayers paid more than $4.4 million in salary for fired officers from 1990-2008. Had this law not been in place since 2009, Milwaukee taxpayers would have paid nearly $300,000 to fired officers. Politicians in Madison should stop meddling in the affairs of the Milwaukee Police Department.
The vast majority of police officers are dedicated public servants who put their lives on the line every day. But, there are a small percentage of officers who have committed serious infractions and are able to stay on the job at taxpayer expense. It is wrong. It is out of line and the Governor should veto it.
I encourage you to contact Governor Walker and urge him to take this provision out of the budget.
Mayor, City of Milwaukee
Visit my website at: www.milwaukee.gov/mayor