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District 1

Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

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Alder Barbara Harrington-McKinney

Contact Information

Home Address:

1209 Dayflower Dr

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Harrington-McKinney’s Updates

Honorarium for Police Civilian Oversight Board

December 1, 2021 4:30 PM

I seldom use my District 1 blog for personal commentary, but I am struggling with this ask for an honorarium for Police Civilian Oversight Board (PCOB) members. I was reviewing past emails and came across this message that was sent to the Mayor and members of the Common Council:

Re: Honorarium Support

Dated November 29, 2021

Dear Madison Common Council and Mayor Rhodes-Conway,

I'm writing to ask for you to support an honorarium for the current PCOB members for their work in installing the PCOB itself which is a one-time job and a paid job throughout the country in both public and private sectors.

Most PCOB's are installed by an Independent Monitor (IM). The IM is usually hired before a board is appointed.

In Madison, the PCOB was appointed first, making them a Start-Up PCOB until they are a fully functioning PCOB. They were appointed first on purpose so that installation and hiring of the IM would be done by a group of people who are diverse racially, economically and experientially. The risk of doing it like everyone else around the country i.e. having an IM hired first who then handles the installation of the PCOB is that the IM is one person making their biases far more influential in the shaping of the PCOB and therefor, the oversight of the police. This describes one big problem with most PCOBs throughout the country. It renders many of them ineffective.

In Madison's case, the PCOB came first but the compensation for developing the foundation, structure, rules and procedures of the board did not. This is far more work than what they signed up for. The lack of compensation for their work was an oversight. 

There is a $120,000 surplus in the PCOB budget that was supposed to pay an IM but the PCOB is doing the installation work and should be financially honored for that work.

Would you please consider supporting a resolution that takes 1/2 of that surplus and divides it equally among PCOB members as an honorarium? It would amount to roughly $4200 per member. Or would you consider something in this ball park?

We know that if there was an oversight in the MPD budget where they forgot to add a budget for a concrete foundation for one of their buildings, they would get that budget without issue. This group should too as the oversight is not their fault.

I've been told this is a complex issue. It really isn't. The PCOB is doing the work that most if not all cities hire out or hire in and most certainly pay for. There is absolutely no reason not to fix this oversight with an honorarium that honors their work.

Thank you for your time.

(Name redacted for confidentiality)

November 30, 2021
Ald. Harrington-McKinney's narrative

  • The OIR Report is complete.
  • The recommendations within the report are actionable.
  • Funding for the Office of the Independent Monitor is actionable.
  • The search for hiring that person is aggressively underway.
  • The Civilian Oversight Board is functioning and doing the work as defined in the ordinance.
  • The Quattrone Center Report: Madison Police Department Sentinel Event Review of Department's Response to 2020 Protests of Police Report November 16, 2021, is complete. The recommendations within the report are actionable. 
  • Shon Barnes was hired as Police Chief. He supports the recommendations of the OIR Report and the Quattrone Center Report AND is committed to interrupting, working toward rebuilding community trust in the Madison Police Department, and is committed to leading a department that is transparent, accountable, data-driven and operates within the structure of community policing to keep all our communities safe. Barnes said he will be "laser-focused" on preventing violent crime, something that "will also require us to examine alternative solutions to discretionary arrests of lower/level offenses." Madison's Police Fire Commission (PFC): "Following a rigorous, comprehensive process and through deliberations the PFC selected Dr. Shon F. Barnes to be the our Chief of Police." And yet, there exists a core body dominating the rhetoric that is committed to stripping the police budget. Did I mention that the current Police Chief Shon Barnes is African American and highly credentialed?

I provided Alders with a narrative from David Schmiedicke, Finance Director, for Amendment #12 to address the false narrative being circulated that Amendment #12 would eliminate the position of Data Analyst. It was a false narrative that the Amendment eliminated the position of Data Analyst from the Office of Independent Monitor. There were 3 positions allocated to the Office of Independent Monitor. Those 3 positions remained. The start dates of these positions created salary savings based on their employment start date.

I was maliciously maligned, accused of "undermining the work of the Police Civilian Oversight Board" and "malicious mischief that proposed to cut the Independent Monitor data analyst."  The audacity of sponsoring Amendment #12 during the budget deliberations, asking for dollars THAT WOULD NOT HAVE IMPACTED THE OFFICE OF THE INDEPENDENT MONITOR IN ANY WAY BUT WOULD HAVE RE-DIRECTED UNUSED FUNDS FROM SALARY COST SAVINGS TO PUBLIC HEALTH TO TARGET GUN VIOLENCE, HIGH RISK YOUTH AND THE CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT SURROUNDING THEIR LIVES. The unused taxpayer dollars then going back into the GENERAL FUND.

Perhaps that is why I am finding it difficult to view AS ACCEPTABLE the FACTS that justify payment by salary OR through an honorarium to members of Police Civilian Oversight Board from the salary savings generated from the delayed hiring of the Independent Monitor.

DO WE PROVIDE AN HONORARIUM TO OTHER BOARDS, COMMITTEES, COMMISSIONS FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS THAT SUPPORT THE FUNCTIONALITY OF OUR CITY WITHOUT BEING COMPENSATED?  Council Members currently receive $12,692 a year in base salary, the Council Vice President receives $13,692, and the Council President receives $15,444.


Alder Harrington-McKinney

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