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Legislative Reference Bureau

A Division of the Common Council-City Clerk's Office

The Legislative Reference Bureau, a research arm of the Common Council-City Clerk's Office, is dedicated to providing nonpartisan, factual information on governmental issues. It primarily serves members of the Common Council, the Mayor and city departments as well as offers services to the public.

The Bureau's roots trace back to February 3, 1908, when the Council adopted an ordinance created a Municipal Reference Library as part of the Milwaukee Public Library. On June 30, 1970, the Council created the Legislative Reference Bureau as an adjunct of the Office of the City Clerk.

The Legislative Reference Bureau is composed of two service areas:
  • Research and Analysis
  • Library Services
Research & Analysis

The research and analysis staff attends all City of Milwaukee Common Council and Common Council standing committee meetings to assist the Council and other city departments in formulating city ordinances and policy. In addition to drafting city ordinances and resolutions, analysts also provide fiscal analysis and research and write reports for the Common Council dealing with governmental concerns. One of the main responsibilities of this section is the annual review of the budget submitted by the Mayor, which involves review of all city department budgets and providing analysis on these budgets to the Council.

Legislative Reference Bureau Analysts:

  • Draft legislation for Common Council members and city departments
  • Conduct surveys of other municipalities on complex urban issues
  • Research and report on governmental issues facing the City
  • Review and analyze the annual executive budget
  • Provide technical assistance to task forces and ad hoc committees established by the Common Council
  • Keep abreast of municipal issues which may be of interest to the Common Council
Library Services

The Legislative Reference Bureau Library is the official depository for City of Milwaukee documents, per Milwaukee Code of Ordinances Sec. 305-32. The Library Services section maintains a professionally staffed, full-service library serving government officials, city employees and citizens. With subject specialization in urban/governmental affairs, including a collection of books, journals, and City of Milwaukee reports, the library services section fills a wide array of information needs. Most LRB library resources are available for use by the public.

Information Specialists:

  • Answers
    To the questions most frequently asked about the City of Milwaukee
  • Census Depository
    Maintain a collection of City of Milwaukee decennial census reports from 1940 to the present, as well as other specialized U.S. Census Bureau reports
  • Code Histories
    Assist patrons in researching City of Milwaukee legislative histories, as well as obtaining copies of individual ordinances and resolutions
  • Code Updates
    Update and maintain City Charter and Milwaukee Code of Ordinances to incorporate changes that occurred from all actions taken by the Common Council.
  • Research Services
    Search online resources to provide access to periodical or newspaper articles, reports, books, bulletin boards and other digital documents for answers to city-related questions for City employees
  • Interlibrary Loan
    Obtain copies of journal articles, books or reports that are not available in the collection for city-related questions for City of Milwaukee employees
  • LRB Card Catalog
    Please note: our collection is available for circulation to city employees only, however our library is open to the public and all items may be used on site
  • Newspaper Clippings
    Provide access to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper clippings from the turn of the century to present, arranged by subject
  • Reference Services
    Provide answers to inquiries regarding City issues, local ordinances, or other governmental topics


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Contact Us

Research and Analysis
City Hall
200 E. Wells Street
Room 307
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Library Services
City Hall
200 E. Wells Street
Room B-11
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Department Contacts


Interim Legislative Reference

Bureau Manager

Ted Medhin

Phone: (414) 286-2267

Legislative Research Supervisor

Jeff Osterman

Phone:  (414) 286-2262

Library Manager

Eileen Lipinski

Phone: (414) 286-8818           

Code Information Specialist

Laurie Phillip

Phone: (414) 286-3905