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Milwaukee Common Council to vote on new health commissioner Wednesday

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The Milwaukee Common Council with vote on the confirmation of a new health department commissioner on Wednesday.

Jeanette Kowalik was approved by the city’s Public Safety and Health committee Tuesday morning. Kowalik is a Milwaukee native. At Tuesday’s meeting she expressed her desire to improve the department.

“I welcome feedback and will be accessible to the community, the council and the mayor’s office equally,” Kowalik said. “Public health is not a political issue or platform. It’s for all of us.”

Before Kowalik addressed the committee, interim commissioner Patricia McManus spoke. McManus says she’s found several issues within the department while serving in the role. Among those issues she talked about staffing problems and the lack of accountability and structure within the department.

“I think hopefully that when you have your new person in that you recognize that person is still going to have a lot to do to move this forward,” McManus said.

This all comes after the city’s former health commissioner Bevan Baker left the health department over problems with the city’s lead abatement program.

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