DER homepage

Department of Employee Relations

Welcome to the Department of Employee Relations

The Department of Employee Relations (DER) serves as the City of Milwaukee’s human resources department.

The Department provides oversight and direction over the following:

  • City's civil service system
  • HR policies 
  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding 
  • Compensation services  
  • Benefits and wellness services
  • Labor
  • Compliance  
  • Safety  
  • Grievances 
  • Leave administration
  • Other employee relations matters.

The Department is also responsible for implementing best practices that support the delivery of quality and timely city services.

About Us

  • Announcements
  • COVID-19
  • Featured News
  • Training
  • Jobs
  • Featured Jobs

Important Notice About DER's Reception Area

The Department of Employee Relations (DER) is open for business and here to assist applicants and employees with HR-related matters.  Our reception area is located on the 7th Floor and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
(NOTE: Masks are encouraged inside City Hall)

If you need assistance with:

General inquiries, call (414) 286-3751 or email [email protected]

Employee Benefits, call (414) 286-3184 or email [email protected]

Labor & Compliance, call (414) 286-2108 or email [email protected]

Worker's Compensation, call (414) 286-2020 or email [email protected]

EAP Coordinator, call (414) 286-3145 or email [email protected]

Staffing, call (414) 286-2963 or email [email protected]

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the numbers above.


DPW's Urban Forestry Division Harvests City Christmas Tree 

The Department of Public Works Urban Forestry Division is the team that harvests and decorates the City Christmas Tree for all to enjoy at Deer District this Holiday season.

That’s just the highlight of what the team does throughout the year. Hear from a crew leader who’s been with the City for 27 years and why he loves the job.

Did you know?
DPW’s Urban Forestry Division has an Arborist Apprenticeship Program, that consists of roughly 3.5 years of on-the-job training & learning to become an Urban Forestry Specialist. It encompasses all aspects of tree care, from planting and pruning to managing diseases and insects. It’s a program through the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and the first of its kind in the country!

Become a Mentor!

Mentor Greater Milwaukee is looking for mentors every first Thursday of the month for 6th graders at 6 partner Milwaukee Public Schools:

  1. Morse Middle School for the Gifted & Talented
  2. Roosevelt Middle School
  3. Wedgewood Middle School
  4. Andrew S. Douglas Middle School
  5. Rufus King Middle School
  6. Lincoln Center of the Arts

To sign up and discover which mentoring program fits your personality and availability, go to

Did you know? City of Milwaukee employees are able to use a maximum of 32 hours of paid leave per fiscal year to mentor throughout the City of Milwaukee. Please visit the link below for more information on the program and policy.
MENTOR Greater Milwaukee Volunteer Time Off Request & Verification Form

Important Information for Employees Regarding COVID-19

City of Milwaukee COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

In accordance with the City of Milwaukee’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace free of known hazards, the City of Milwaukee has implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for general city employees, including temporary employees, and interns, effective September 2021. We have adopted this policy to safeguard the health of our employees, their families, visitors and the residents we serve. 

Additionally, benefit eligible general city and sworn employees will receive an incentive of paid time off for receiving a COVID-19 vaccination booster and submitting proof into employee self-service. A COVID-19 vaccination booster is defined as a third dose in a two dose series or a second dose in a one dose series. Full time employees who submit proof of a COVID-19 vaccination booster will receive eight hours of paid time off. Part time employees will receive a prorated amount of paid time off based on their standard work hours per week.

COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Policy

Featured News

City of Milwaukee, Employ Milwaukee to Host Information Session on City Employment Opportunities

The City of Milwaukee Department of Employee Relations is partnering with Employ Milwaukee to host an Information Session on City Employment Opportunities on Thursday, September 29, 2022 from 3-6 p.m. at Employ Milwaukee Headquarters, located at 2342 N. 27th Street. 

Milwaukee job and skill seekers can learn about available positions with various City Departments. Department representatives will be on-hand to answer questions, including the following Departments: Public Works, Health, Public Library, Neighborhood Services, Water Works, Fire and Police. Dozens of job opportunities are available in the following areas: labor, water works, public health, customer service, safety, accounting, and more. 

Job seekers can also apply on-site at Employ Milwaukee’s computer lab. Human Resources representatives will be there to assist with applications. Attendees can also learn about what it’s like to work for the City of Milwaukee and the comprehensive benefits that are offered through City employment.

See Event Flyer Here. (Spanish version)

Milwaukee Common Council Confirms New DER Director

On July 12, 2022, the Milwaukee Common Council confirmed Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s appointment of the City’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Director of the Department of Employee Relations: Harper Donahue, IV. 

Donahue will lead the City’s human resource function and will direct all the divisions and operations of DER. He will also serve as a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet.

Most recently, Donahue has served as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Madison. He has worked for that city in a number of human resources roles over the past seventeen years.  He is expected to begin his new role at the City of Milwaukee at the end of August.

Mayor Johnson Announces City Partnership with MENTOR Greater Milwaukee

On March 30, 2022, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and MENTOR Greater Milwaukee announced a partnership allowing City of Milwaukee employees the ability to mentor Milwaukee youth during the work day.

MENTOR Greater Milwaukee works with existing mentoring organizations, matching a caring adult with children in need through safe, effective mentoring programs. This "Mentoring Mindset" and partnership will provide a pathway for public servants to further serve Milwaukee youth.

City of Milwaukee employees are able to use a maximum of 32 hours of paid leave per fiscal year to mentor.

To become a mentor, register here. 

MENTOR Greater Milwaukee Volunteer Time Off Request & Verification Form

Mayor Barrett and the Milwaukee Common Council set a $15 per hour minimum wage for City of Milwaukee Employees

On July 7, 2021, the Common Council unanimously approved file #210343, which raises the minimum payable wage for all City of Milwaukee employees to $15.00/hour. As residents of the City of Milwaukee are governed by a 3% residency incentive, the minimum rate of pay for residents of the City of Milwaukee will be $15.45/hour. This minimum payable wage is effective September 5, 2021.

Among the employees impacted by the change are library circulation aides, library teen outreach interns, school crossing guards, temporary election workers, fire cadets, and police aides. The additional cost of the wage changes will be managed within this year’s City budget and included in the Mayor’s budget proposal for 2022.

Employees whose rates have been adjusted up to these new minimum wage rates will see the change reflected on their September 30, 2021 paycheck. Employees with a question about their September 30, 2021 paycheck should reach out to their department’s human resources personnel.

2% General Wage Increase Effective Pay Period 2, 2022 

Frequently Asked Questions

Ethics and Harassment Training for Elected Officials & Appointees

The Milwaukee Code of Ordinance states that each elected official and appointee shall complete ethics and harassment training provided by the Department of Employee Relations or its designee within 120 days of election or appointment to office.

Click here for more information and to register for upcoming sessions.

Additional Training Opportunities

Training sessions in FMIS (Financial Management Information Systems) for the month of October can be found here.

Any City Employee who would like to learn FMIS is eligible for the trainings.

The City of Milwaukee is proud to employ a diverse workforce that is committed to providing exemplary service to the City’s residents. If you have a passion for being a part of an inclusive team of public servants and shaping the future of the City, please consider working with us!

Our 7,000 person workforce carries on the daily business of the City of Milwaukee, making our community stronger. What we do today shapes the Milwaukee of tomorrow.

Why work for the City of Milwaukee?

  • Make an Impact
  • Career Progression
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Passionate Environment
  • Stability
  • Comprehensive Benefits Program

What benefits do we offer?

  • Defined Benefit Pension Plan
  • Health & Dental Insurance
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Comprehensive Wellness Program
  • Onsite Clinic Services
  • Onsite Employee Assistance Program
  • Alternative Work Schedules
  • Long-term Disability Insurance
  • Group Life Insurance
  • Tuition Benefits
  • Paid Vacation
  • 12 Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Leave & other Paid Leaves
  • Flexible Spending Arrangement
  • Commuter Value Pass
  • National Award-Winning 457 Deferred Compensation Plan


Search for Jobs



Operations Driver/Worker

The Operations Driver/Workers provide professional driving and critical manual laboring functions, including municipal solid waste and recycling collection, street sweeping, snow and ice control, and operation of heavy equipment for the Department of Public Works.

This position is critical to the cleanliness, health and safety of the City, its residents and visitors.

Cllick HERE for more information on Sanitation Services.

Fall Leaf Collection Information.

Join the Office of Violence Prevention! 

Its core mission mission is to reduce violence in Milwaukee. The Office of Violence Prevention, under the City of Milwaukee Health Department, provides strategic direction and oversight for City efforts to reduce risk of violence through linked strategies in partnership with government, non-profit, neighborhood, and faith organizations.

The following positions are taking applications:

  • ReCAST Program Manager

  • Watch the video below to hear from those who work in OVP and why this program is so important.

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