Records: 1 sexual harassment complaint against Milw. Co. supervisor since 2007, none against city aldermen

MILWAUKEE -- As sexual harassment complaints against elected officials sweep the country, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and Milwaukee Common Council have remained relatively clear of such cases.

Since 2007, one harassment complaint has been filed against a county supervisor and none have been lodged against a city alderman, according to documents obtained by FOX6 News through an open records request.

Nevertheless, taxpayers forked over more than $30,000 so the county could settle two cases in 2006 and 2013. And elected officials are grappling with how to mandate sexual harassment training. In some cases, the mandatory training covers only their staff and not the politicians themselves.

County complaint, settlements

The one complaint against a county board member came in 2013, when a female employee in the county's pension office accused then-board chairman Lee Holloway of kissing her and grabbing her breast and buttocks during a meeting in Holloway's office.

Lee Holloway

Lee Holloway

Milwaukee County settled the case with the employee, Denise McCaskill, for $24,000 after state investigators found probable cause that a law had been broken. By the time the case was settled, Holloway had retired from the board. Of the settlement amount, McCaskill got $16,000 and her lawyers got $8,000. McCaskill left the county in 2015.

In 2006, the county agreed to pay $9,300 to end a case involving Milwaukee County Board Supervisor, Michael Mayo. The longtime supervisor is still on the board but has said he plans to retire in 2018.

Michael Mayo

The state's Equal Rights Division maintains records of complaints against county board members.

Sexual harassment training

In December, County Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb made it mandatory for staffers to take sexual harassment training. Lipscomb said he couldn't force board members to do the same, but encouraged them to take the training.

"The County Board treats sexual harassment complaints with the care and diligence that Milwaukee County uses with all such complaints," Lipscomb said in an email. "We will continue to work with corporation counsel to ensure that the county’s policies are responsive to the needs of all county employees.”

County Executive Chris Abele has said his administration continues to update the county's policies for sexual harassment allegations against elected officials. Abele previously mandated sexual harassment training for employees that report to him, his chief of staff said.

Chris Abele

"The county executive will accept nothing less than a safe, inclusive, and harassment-free workplace for all employees. That is why he instituted the first-ever harassment training for all County employees - nearly five years ago," said Raisa Koltun, Abele's chief of staff.

Unlike the state Legislature, where leaders have said they plan to keep sexual harassment complaints against elected officials hidden from public view, Abele and Corporation Counsel Margaret Daun have pledged in recent weeks to release records of harassing behavior.

No complaints at the Common Council

Ashanti Hamilton

There is no record of any internal complaints made against Milwaukee Common Council members since 2007, said Maria Monteagudo, director of the city's Department of Employee Relations.

Additionally, City Attorney Grant Langley said there were no records of any sexual harassment settlements involving aldermen since 2007.

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton did not return a phone call seeking comment about the council's current sexual harassment training policies, or whether Hamilton would seek to enhance them.