Zoning committee recommends reappointment of Marcoux

Common Council will take up matter for a second time July 26

Rocky Marcoux
Rocky Marcoux

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:02 pm

The city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee on Tuesday voted to recommend keeping Richard “Rocky” Marcoux in his position as commissioner of the department of city development, but he was unable to get unanimous approval, which could hurt him next week when the Common Council takes up the matter again.


Aldermen Milele Coggs and Khalif Rainey both abstained from voting, saying they wanted to wait until after their scheduled meetings with Marcoux, between now and the July 26 council meeting, before deciding his fate.

“I haven’t had an opportunity to travel the seventh district with you,” Rainey said. “My meeting is scheduled tomorrow and you are going to show me what you intend to do. I do think it’s noteworthy that so many people in the community who support you also support me, but I want to wait.”

Aldermen Nik Kovac, James Bohl and Russell Stamper voted in favor of the reappointment.

The future of Marcoux’s job was back in the hands of the committee after the Common Council initially voted against Marcoux’s reappointment July 6, but later voted to send the matter back to the committee for additional review.

Several members of the council were concerned that Marcoux and his department have been too focused on downtown Milwaukee and have ignored other areas of the city.

On Tuesday, Marcoux said in light of the feedback, he is proposing a new position for his department, a neighborhoods economic development specialist, who would work with the Common Council to target new growth opportunities on council-led initiatives.

“Even my harshest critics would say that I bring something to the job every day that I have always valued and that’s personal integrity,” Marcoux said. “I make decisions based on the information in front of me. Sometimes I make the wrong decisions, but I make decision with integrity.”

Much of the conversation Tuesday centered around challenges faced by the city’s black residents including the high black male unemployment rate and income disparity. Marcoux pointed to several areas where the city is targeting unemployment including the Menomonee Valley and Century City.

“Over the last decade, we have taken 500 acres of vacant, underutilized land and turned into viable, industrial parks,” Marcoux said. “The goal moving forward is over the next decade to turn another 500 acres of polluted land into viable places that can be used for employment.”

But Coggs said not everyone is looking for a manufacturing or construction jobs, and she would like to see additional opportunities.

“We know multiple millions of dollars of development is coming to downtown,” Coggs said. “I want to see more effort of a creation of the pipeline. Whether or not the community will see the benefits remains to be seen.”

About a half dozen community  leaders, all minorities, including Ricardo Diaz, executive director of the United Community Center, Sharon Adams, co-founder at Walnut Way Conservation Corp., and Adolfo Rebollo, chief executive officer of Ingeteam, spoke the committee in support of Marcoux.

“As a person who held this job from 1988 to 1992, I can fully appreciate the challenges of this position – this neighborhood vs. downtown is not new,” Diaz said. “We faced this in the 1990s and the next generation of leaders will face it. Rocky Marcoux is a winner. He is a person who gets things done.”

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