There May or May Not be a Meeting Tonight of Kenosha County's Racial and Ethnic Commission

Nov. 16, 2023 1:30p; Updated 10:15p---Two commissioners showed up at the Job Center ready to meet Thursday night and found the building locked. 

(WGTD)---Confusion surrounds tonight's scheduled meeting of the Kenosha County Racial and Ethnic Equity Commission after County Executive Samantha Kerkman rescinded her appointments to the panel and recommended that the commission be disbanded.

The county clerk's office put out a notice Thursday indicating that the Thursday evening meeting, originally scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Kenosha County Job Center, wouldn't take place because with Kerkman's rescissions a quorum couldn't possibly be present. But at least one commission member--Supervisor Andy Berg--says he's going to show up anyway. And Berg said he was told that Commission Chair Xavier Solis--a Kerkman appointee--planned to be there as well. 

The commission was established two years ago during the administration of Kerkman's predecessor, Jim Kreuser, in response to George Floyd and Jacob Blake. The panel became a bit of a political background after Kerkman became county executive and appointed people who didn't appear to share the same views as of some of the original appointees. Kerkman appointees then filled enough seats to control the direction of the commission. 

But in a statement issued Wednesday night, Kerkman said: “The current state of the Racial and Ethnic Equity Commission does not align with or fulfill the mission set out by the County Board. The recent events have further demonstrated how the commission’s actions have deep impact in our community. Therefore, I am rescinding all of the County Executive appointees to the commission effective immediately, and I encourage the County Board to take the steps needed to disband the commission."

“I know there is important work to be done," Kerkman added. "I believe there are other means by which we can work to effectively address the intended objectives of the commission, including the good work being done by Kenosha County Public Health through its Thrive initiative.”

In addition, Kenosha County Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator Kelsey Hubeler issued the following comment: “This isn’t the end of the county’s racial equity work. This is an acknowledgment that what the REEC was doing wasn’t working, and that we should pursue other strategies going forward. I look forward to assisting in any way I can.”

According to the county clerk's office, Hubeler is the person who requested cancelation of the Thursday evening commission meeting.