MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously approved the three newest candidates for the Fire and Police Commission Wednesday.
The candidates have the backing of Mayor Tom Barrett, who has the authority to appoint and vet potential commissioners. The Common Council then reviews and ultimately approves the candidates.
The three appointees are Joan Kessler, a former U.S. Attorney; Ed Fallone, a law professor at Marquette University; and LaNelle Ramey, a Milwaukee-born community leader.
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Kessler served as the United States Attorney for Wisconsin’s Eastern District from 1978 to 1981. She served as a family law attorney for over 20 years. For the last 16 years, she was a judge on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Notably, she was one of the judges to rule cities can enforce residency requirements for employees and upheld a conviction of a former aid to Gov. Scott Walker for campaigning while receiving payment by Milwaukee County.
Fallone is currently an Associate Professor at Marquette Law School. Fallone ran for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2020, losing in the primary to both Daniel Kelly and Jill Karofsky. Karofsky would go on to win in the general election. In addition to his legal work, Fallone founded three local nonprofits: Centro Legal por Derechos Humanos, Inc., the Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Assistance Program, and the Latino Community Center. He’s also served on the Board of Directors at Voces de la Frontera.
Ramey has dedicated his life to giving back to the community that raised him. He served 13 years for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee in various capacities. Most recently, he’s served as the Director of the Black and Latino Male Achievement Program at Milwaukee Public Schools and is the Executive Director of MENTOR Greater Milwaukee.
The Common Council's Public Safety and Health Committee approved the candidates late last month.
In recent months the FPC has been rocked by controversies, most notably after commissioners demoted former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales in August of 2020, as well as the resignation of former FPC Chair Steven DeVougas, after a leaked video showed him sitting in on a police interview with a client questioned in a rape investigation. Morales is currently seeking a financial settlement from the city, or if no settlement is reached, must be reinstated to his former job, per a judge's ruling.
With the new three appointees being confirmed by the Common Council, nearly half the board has been changed in less than six months. Nelson Soler, the chair of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission who took on the high-profile position in the summer of last year, just resigned from the FPC. The commission's vice chair, Angela McKenzie, becomes chair until a new chairperson is appointed. Her seat on the commission is set to expire.