New RPD Contract; Kerkman Appointment Receives Flak From the Right

Mar. 10, 2023 3:30p; Updated 3-12 with Mathewson comments

From WGTD News: 

A long-awaited settlement in contract negotiations between Racine Police and the city has arrived. The city announced Friday that officers have ratified a new contract that’s similar to a deal with firefighters that the city council approved this past week. The police contract calls for a 15% raise implemented over a four-year period retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021. In addition, there’s a $2,000 retention bonus, a 3% pay increases for city residents and a mortgage down payment assistance program for residents. Although a controversial high-deductible health insurance plan remains in place, police officers and firefighters will be able to retire at a slightly earlier age with fewer years of service and still retain health insurance benefits until they're eligible for Medicare. The city council’s finance and personnel committee is expected to consider the police contract proposal Monday night.


A former Republican legislative candidate is criticizing an appointment made by County Executive Samantha Kerkman, a former Republican state representative. Crystal Miller unsuccessfully sought the seat currently held by State Representative Todd Ohnstad. In a letter to the county board, Miller said she felt compelled to speak up and voice opposition to the appointment of Kevin Mathewson to the county’s emergency planning committee. During the 2020 riots in Kenosha, Mathewson went online in an effort to form an armed militia. He then launched an online news and opinion service. In her letter to the board, which she posted on Facebook, Miller said Mathewson consistently exhibits hate and berates and attempts to ruin “anyone who is different from him.” She urges supervisors to be courageous and not let the fear of retaliation be their guide. In response, Mathewson tells WGTD that Miller doesn't represent the right in that she ran as a "different shade of red." In an earlier post, Mathewson denied that he's an extremist. He said his qualifications include serving for five years as a 911 dispatcher and sitting for two years as a a Kenosha alderman on the city council's Public Safety and Welfare Committee. The county board last week referred Mathewson’s appointment to the executive committee for consideration.