Aldermen Urge Further Interviews In Health Department Investigation

On the heels of the release of a review late last week of the Milwaukee Health Department by the state Department of Health Services that showed the MHD mishandled lead testing – and as an investigation ordered by the Common Council pertaining to the MHD lead program is nearing its end – Alderman Bob Donovan and Alderman Mark A. Borkowski are requesting that targeted interviews of four key individuals take place.

Aldermen Donovan and Borkowski said they believe former MHD Commissioner Bevan Baker, former MHD director of disease control and environmental health Paul Biedrzycki, Mayor Tom Barrett and former mayoral Chief of Staff Pat Curley should be included as part of additional interviews. 

The aldermen said they are especially interested in further interviews with Mr. Baker, who shortly after his resignation wrote a lengthy piece denying any culpability. 

Alderman Donovan, chair of the Public Safety and Health Committee, said he believes “no investigation could be complete until every stone is overturned.” 

“It is absolutely unconscionable that the Health Department was not doing its job for six years and nobody knew a thing in the administration,” Alderman Donovan said, adding: “I want to know what they knew and when they knew it.” 

“I hope each of them willingly agrees to be interviewed but if it takes a subpoena to get their testimony, so be it,” Alderman Donovan said. 

“The significance of this report demands where the accountability should be,” said Alderman Borkowski, a member of the Public Safety and Health Committee.

“The fact that the Health Department has been in disarray since 2012 begs the question, ‘Who is minding the store?’ Public safety and health should have the utmost importance,” Alderman Borkowski said.   

Late yesterday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Health Department hired a law firm to investigate apparent bullying and mismanagement by employees.   

“Here we are again looking into allegations of mismanagement and hostile working conditions at the Health Department,” Alderman Donovan said. 

“We need to get to the truth, because the more we peel back the onion the more dysfunction and mismanagement we discover,” he said. 

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