Mayor Johnson names Hamilton new director of OVP

NOW: Mayor Johnson names Hamilton new director of OVP

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Almost two weeks after the termination of Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) Director Arnitta Holliman, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson has named a replacement, a former political rival.

District 1 Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, who endorsed Johnson's mayoral opponent Bob Donovan earlier this year, will take over for Holliman.

"We look forward to getting to work and making sure that we're having an impact in the community," Hamilton said.

Arnitta Holliman, who led OVP for a little more than a year, was dismissed Aug. 3. She calls her firing unwarranted, unprofessional and without warning.

"I think it's important that if someone is going to be terminated, or their appointment ended, that there is clear communication about the reason for that and that it comes directly from the mayor," she said.

At a news conference announcing her replacement, Mayor Johnson seemed reluctant to talk about specifics relating to Holliman's dismissal, but disagrees that is was without warning.

"You can look at any number of council meetings, including when I was on the Common Council, and the number of times since I've been mayor where there have been discussions with the former director of this office about some of the things that needed to change," he said.

While some wondered if Holliman's departure meant changes, or the elimination of OVP altogether, Johnson says he is committed to the office continuing the work it started.

"My office remains fully committed to the notion of violence prevention in Milwaukee," Johnson said.

Hamilton will resign as District 1 alderman and take over at OVP late next week. When that happens, the Milwaukee Common Council will be down four council members. Mayor Johnson says two of the four will be back in place this November.

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