'An internal matter:' Mayor Barrett says firing of DNC Host Committee leaders is handled

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett calls the firing of two 2020 Democratic National Convention Host Committee staffers an internal matter that has now been handled.

Liz Gilbert

Days after launching an investigation, the Host Committee's board of directors fired its president, Liz Gilbert, and another leader, Adam Alonso.

"You can see how quickly the board acted. It understands the convention is 150 or 160 days away," Mayor Barrett said.

Adam Alonso

The dismissals were announced late Tuesday night, Feb. 4. In a letter, the board wrote that "the work environment did not meet the ideals and expectations of the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee Board of Directors," and that Gilbert and Alonso were "no longer employed by the organization, effective immediately."


The decision came after reports of bullying and harassment in the workplace. The Host Committee hired an outside agency to investigate the matter -- that probe continues despite the dismissals. The board says it is necessary to "take additional steps" to ensure "office culture reflects respect and dignity."

Mayor Barrett says the turnover won't impact fundraising for the event. He says the committee is ahead of schedule.

"The fundraising team is still there, and I think that's going to continue," said Mayor Barrett. "I'm not concerned about that. I think that this was an internal matter."

But the personnel issue is far from over. In a statement to FOX6 News, Gilbert's attorney said:

"My client denies the allegations made by anonymous sources that it was a 'toxic' workplace. Ms. Gilbert participated in a one-hour interview with investigators last night (Feb. 4) and was fired via email soon after. We are exploring out options going forward."

The 2020 Democratic National Convention starts on July 13. Mayor Barrett said an interim is already in place and the process to replace Gilbert will be "fluid."