Mayor Barrett: Health commissioner resigns after lead level notification snafu

After families were not properly notified when high levels of lead were found in children in the city of Milwaukee, Mayor Tom Barrett announced Friday that Health Commissioner Bevan Baker submitted his resignation. 

Baker was sworn in as the 16th commissioner of health in 2004 by Barrett. 

Barrett said there will be no disciplinary action. 

Members of the Common Council sent out a joint statement after the mayor’s announcement. 

Today members of the Common Council learned that officers of the Milwaukee Health Department failed to ensure adequate notification of thousands of families whose children tested positive for elevated lead levels in their blood. This is an egregious public health failure that was in direct non-compliance with procedures put forth by Common Council resolution.
We will move forward to hold the executive branch accountable for this very serious failure and we will investigate in depth to determine what processes, procedures, or other matters, if any, have been ignored, not complied with, or have been mishandled by the Health Department.  The protection of our children must remain our highest priority.  Our review of this matter will be handled with a seriousness appropriate to a failure of this magnitude.
This marks a new day in the Common Council’s dealings with this administration with regard to policy, in general, and with appointments, in particular. We will exercise a new level of scrutiny and we will demand a new level of accountability.
Our fact-finding and review efforts into these matters will begin during a special Steering and Rules Committee meeting open to all Council members at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

This is a developing story. Stay with for updates. 

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