Mayor's pick for Interim health commissioner got $500,000 in consulting contracts from city

NOW: Mayor’s pick for Interim health commissioner got $500,000 in consulting contracts from city

There are new questions about Mayor Tom Barrett’s pick for interim health commissioner, Paul Nannis after a memo shows the city paid Nannis’ company hundreds of thousands over the last several years.

Barrett wants Nannis, who was the health commissioner from 1988 through 1998, to be the interim commissioner of the embattled health department.

A committee rejected the appointment last week, but the full council still has to vote.

CBS 58 Investigates obtained a memo we obtained Tuesday afternoon, which shows Nannis worked with the health department for the last 14 years.

Strategic Healthcare Solutions, a company owned by Nannis, got more than $500,000 in consulting contracts from the Milwaukee Health Department between 2004 and 2018. That information is in a memo from the city’s legislative reference bureau, sent out Tuesday.

The health department is under fire after problems with the childhood lead prevention program were revealed. Alderman Donovan, who requested the information from the legislative bureau, says he questions if Nannis can be impartial investigating these problems within the same department, that paid his company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“People can draw whatever conclusions they want from that,” Ald. Donovan said. “I think it solidifies my concern that we need to go in a different direction when it comes to a new commissioner and someone who is not so very close to the mayor.”

Nannis’ company did not do any consulting work related to the lead program, according to the memo.

On Monday, several Alderman sent out a press release, questioning why Nannis, who was not confirmed by the City Council, was already doing the health commissioner job. Aldermen claim Nannis, started about two weeks ago, has an email address, a parking spot and access to health records.

Tuesday night, CBS 58 spoke to Nannis. He says he left city hall Monday after aldermen raised those concerns about him already doing the job. Nannis says he won’t return unless he’s confirmed by the full council on February 6 but declined to comment further.

We reached out to the mayor’s office Tuesday evening but have not heard back.

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