Municipal leaders decline to vote on a Milwaukee County-wide mask mandate

The Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (ICC) of Milwaukee County did not vote at their meeting this afternoon on a recommendation for a county-wide mask mandate.

As ICC chair, city of Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy, was moving the meeting to a vote some ICC members raised a point of order claiming the agenda item about a mask mandate was only scheduled for “discussion,” and that it was not an “action item.”

Kennedy agreed and promised better clarification of agenda items for future meetings. During the half hour spent on the mandate item Kennedy said he supported a county-wide mask mandate, but also said he believed the state Supreme Court would shoot down any such plan.

There were some sparks at the very start of the discussion provided by Franklin Mayor Steve Olson. Eleven municipal health directors had collaborated on today’s meeting agenda. Olson said after he spoke with his health director he felt there would be no harm in supporting the proposed resolution which said the communities should encourage the use of masks. But then the resolution was amended with the addition of a sentence calling for the county-wide mask mandate.

Olson rather sternly asked how the change came about and who was responsible.

The resolution, Olson said, went from “a valuable message to a political point that ruined the message.”

Chair Kennedy then asked Olson if his health director didn’t share all information with him. Olson quickly snapped at Kennedy.

“I resent that,” barked Olson. “My health director has always been honest with me.”

Olson told me last week he was going to voter NO on a county-wide mandate.

At the time of the ICC meeting Milwaukee’s Common Council was also meeting on a proposed city of Milwaukee mandate. None of the ICC communities have taken separate action on any of their own potential mandates.

One concern raised at the ICC meeting was how any mask mandate would or could be enforced.

For opponents of a mask mandate today’s non-vote was actually good news.

UPDATE: The Milwaukee Common Council this afternoon voted unanimously to approve an ordinance requiring people to wear masks in public spaces while the city’s COVID-19 health order is in place.

6 thoughts on “Municipal leaders decline to vote on a Milwaukee County-wide mask mandate

  1. As I see it, there isn’t any law in Wisconsin as to their authority to mandate mask wearing, and, in fact I think someone who lives in the city of Milwaukee should contest their authority to pass such a mandate as being legal with our constitution.


  2. I think that they were probably shocked to find out that THEY have to enforce these rules. They are going to drive out what little business they have gotten back. I have never been happier that we decided to move out of the city of Milwaukee (15 years ago) than I am now!


  3. The Milwaukee ordinance as Mayor Barrett described during the ICC meeting is the businesses making the city be the bad guy. The businesses want their employees to wear masks AND their customers but they don’t want to be the ones to tell them to wear them so they have the city pass an ordinance. But the city is enforcing the ordinance on the business not the individual. Be careful what you ask for. Wearing a mask in public where you can’t properly social distance is a good practice. People should just do it. And wash your hands often. And don’t go out if you don’t feel well. Common sense. And let me be very clear. I am NOT anti-mask. I believe in what I say. Wear a mask where you can’t control your circumstances. Wear a mask if you want to. I just don’t have staff to police people who violate a mask ordinance. Heck, look at the number of people complaining about speeders.


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