Bice: Finalist for city health commissioner has story of personal financial troubles

You usually knew a preference of a subsequent commissioner for a uneasy Milwaukee Health Department would not go off though a hitch. 

That’s because, usually days after city officials announced the span of finalists for a job, it comes to light that one of them has a story of financial troubles. 

Jeanette Kowalik, an associate director of the Association of Maternal Child Health Programs in Washington, D.C., has filed for failure twice and had a Milwaukee home foreclosed on by a lender and afterwards sold.

Kowalik, 39, many recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2014, inventory $217,000 in resources and $406,000 in liabilities. 

Her resources during a time enclosed a Milwaukee residence and timeshares in dual condominiums in Orlando, Fla. Later in 2014, Kowalik was sued by debt lender James B. Nutter  Co. for not creation payments on a house, that she bought for $152,000. 

Chapter 7 failure allows a creditor to transparent many unsecured debts, such as credit cards and medical bills. It did not concede Kowalik, however, to dispose of her $170,000 in preparation loans. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is approaching to select between Kowalik and Sanjib Bhattacharyya, a Health Department’s laboratory director, to fill a commissioner’s post. Patricia McManus, the longtime personality of the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin, is a halt director. 

RELATED:Milwaukee IDs dual finalists for a subsequent commissioner of a uneasy Health Department

RELATED:Bice: Ex-health arch Bevan Baker was derelict on payday loans and taxes notwithstanding $147,000 salary

RELATED:Patricia McManus will be Milwaukee’s halt health arch after Mayor Barrett stands down

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Ald. Michael Murphy, who was one of 8 officials on a cabinet that endorsed a dual finalists, pronounced he would have favourite to have famous about Kowalik’s financial troubles.

Such information, he said, would not have determined — on a possess — how he would have noticed Kowalik’s candidacy. But he pronounced it would have been applicable in determining either she should be using an group with a $21.7 million budget.

“It would have played a purpose in my decision-making,” Murphy said. He added, “You would consider anyone requesting for such a high-profile pursuit would have famous this would turn open information right away.”

It doesn’t seem that a city had entirely vetted a pursuit candidates.

Maria Monteagudo, the city’s executive of worker relations, pronounced a cabinet was given a shortcoming of reviewing a pool of 10 possibilities formed on their résumés and references. The row afterwards referred dual finalists to a mayor for his consideration. 

“If and when a mayor creates a preference on either he wants to commission someone formed on their education and veteran references, a credentials check will be done,” Monteagudo pronounced by email. 

A mouthpiece for a mayor pronounced Barrett was unknowingly of a finalist’s past financial woes. 

Kowalik, who has a doctorate in health sciences from a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, supposing a Journal Sentinel with a five-paragraph statement emphasizing a obstacles she has overcome given being innate to a black mom and Polish father. 

“I can describe to many as we had to work my approach adult and out of poverty,” Kowalik wrote. “Education was my approach out.”

Federal annals uncover she initial filed for failure in 2003, a year after she got her undergraduate grade from UWM. Details of that justice movement are not available. 

Kowalik worked for a city Health Department for 6 years. While there, she got a master’s in open health from Northern Illinois University. 

She received a doctorate in 2013 while working for a Wauwatosa Health Department and Boys Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. She formerly served as UW-Madison’s executive of impediment and campus health initiatives.

Along a way, she bought a duplex in a Enderis Park area on a city’s northwest side. She pronounced she was afterwards held in a inhabitant foreclosure crisis.

“I was immature and purchased my initial home in 2007 and was impacted by a recession,” she wrote. “This is not singular to many Americans who purchased homes shortly before a retrogression and were incompetent to sell due to decreased skill values versus mortgages owed.”

As a result, Kowalik — a singular primogenitor of a 19-year-old son — pronounced she again indispensable to file for bankruptcy, which she called “a form of financial liberation that has helped many Americans.” 

She pronounced it is legitimate to ask about a financial backgrounds of open servants approaching to oversee taxation dollars. But she pronounced her personal financial story “in no approach reflects my destiny ability to run a Milwaukee Health Department.”

She added, “I have demonstrated a ability to not usually knowledge though redeem from personal financial challenges which have NEVER impacted my ability to duty in care positions, including government of million dollar budgets.”

Paul Vornholt, arch of staff to a mayor, pronounced Barrett will take into care “all suitable factors,” including work story and personal background, when selecting a subsequent health chief. The pivotal factors will be those directly associated to a candidate’s ability as a public health officer, Vornholt said.

If selected, Kowalik would not be a initial tip Milwaukee health central with personal financial troubles.

Baker’s problems 

Former Health Commission Bevan Baker had a Internal Revenue Service put a garnishment on his property in Jul 2015 for delinquent sovereign income taxes totaling $26,578 for 4 prior years. The garnishment has not been released.

Baker — who was creation $147,842 a year when he left office — also had to go to justice in 2012 to connect and compensate off a array of delinquent loans from about a dozen payday lenders and other short-term, high-interest outfits. 

In January, Baker left his pursuit during City Hall as news pennyless that his beleaguered dialect unsuccessful to yield services to families of thousands of children who had tested certain for lead — or during slightest request those efforts. 

Also entrance underneath critique has been a city module directed during preventing children from pang lead poisoning. The problems were initial minute in a sardonic report released by a mayor in Jan and afterwards in an even worse state news final month. 

Contact Daniel Bice during (414) 224-2135 or Follow him on Twitter @DanielBice or on Facebook at

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