FPC to vote on 'major issue' of reappointing MPD Chief Morales; alderpersons request postponement

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales is expected to learn Wednesday night, Dec. 18 if he's keeping his job as the city's top cop.

Ahead of Wednesday night's special meeting of the Fire and Police Commission, nine Milwaukee alders issued a letter to the FPC, asking that they "reconsider and postpone the re-appointment of Chief Morales until a far better process can be created and shared with the community." The Common Council members asked that the FPC wait 30 days, noting in their letter, "There is no decision of greater consequence for the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners than the appointment of a chief of police."

The FPC called the special meeting to vote on a resolution to reappoint Morales, with notice of the meeting going out just one day in advance -- after months of speculation about Morales' contract, which expires in January 2020.

Morales wants to keep his job. The FPC has the final say on if that will happen.

Commissioner Nelson Soler said in a statement that he called the special meeting "to maintain its integrity to a published process set by the Chairman."

Morales appeared before the FPC for the final time as a job candidate on Nov. 20, seeking to stay on as chief.

Milwaukee Police Department

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has long maintained his support for Morales and said it is important for the FPC to act promptly on this issue.

"This process has been going on for months," Barrett said. "I think it's time to bring it to resolution."

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton says the sudden notice doesn't promote transparency. He says it's not enough time to properly alert the public about such an important decision.

Ashanti Hamilton

"These are not the types of decisions that should be rushed or made behind closed doors," Hamilton said. "We want to give people the opportunity to understand what's being considered, why it's being considered. That is the path to building trust with the community. It's transparency."

Hamilton, other council members, nor the mayor have any authority to hold up the vote.

Morales has been police chief since early 2018. The meeting will take place at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.