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Mayor Names Makda Fessahaye as City of Milwaukee Director of Employee Relations

December 15, 2020

MILWAUKEE— Mayor Tom Barrett today appointed Makda Fessahaye as Director of Employee Relations for the City of Milwaukee.

The Employee Relations Director serves as the City’s chief human resources officer and provides oversight and direction over the City’s civil service system, onboarding, classification and compensation, pay and benefit administration, employee training and development, compliance, safety, grievance administration and employee relations matters. The Director is responsible for advising the Mayor and members of the cabinet regarding employment matters, regulatory compliance, and for implementing best practices that support the delivery of quality and timely essential city services. 

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Makda Fessahaye for Director of Employee Relations for the City of Milwaukee,” said Mayor Barrett. “Makda has an impressive background of legal and human relations experience at the administrative level at the State. She will be an incredible asset to our City leadership team and I am confident that she will excel in her new role.”

Fessahaye previously served as an appointed member of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ administration as the Administrator for the Division of Adult Institutions for the State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections. In this position, Fessahaye oversaw day-to-day operations of the division, which employs over 7,200 employees and cares for over 20,000 persons in custody. In addition, she engaged with internal and external stakeholders on criminal justice issues, prison reform, public policy, public and government relations and other major initiatives, as well as oversaw the department’s emergency management team.

Prior to this role, Fessahaye served the State as both Legal Counsel and as an Employment Relations Specialists. She has served a total of six years in government with the State of Wisconsin. 

Fessahaye received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Northwestern University and went on to earn her Juris Doctor from the Marquette University Law School.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, some of which include: Wisconsin Women in Government Rising Star Award, Wisconsin Law Journal Up and Coming Lawyers Award and “Rising Star” of Marquette University Law School.

Fessahaye currently serves as a board member of Women in Focus, Inc., member of the Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals and member of the Diversity Recruitment Committee at Marquette University Law School. She is also the immediate past president of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers.

Fessahaye will succeed Maria Monteagudo. Her appointment as Director of Employee Relations is subject to Common Council confirmation. 

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