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Mayor Barrett withdraws Paul Nannis from consideration for interim health department commissioner role

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – After objections from several aldermen, Mayor Tom Barrett is withdrawing Paul Nannis from consideration for interim health commissioner.

Nannis was picked by the mayor to take over after Bevan Baker resigned over problems with the lead prevention program in January.

Paul Nannis told CBS 58 Investigates reporter Kristen Barbaresi he’s surprised his appointment was so contentious. He thought his experience with the health department would work in his favor, not against him.

A Council Committee voted down Nannis’ appointment at the end of January and the full council was set to vote on Tuesday, February 6.

In a letter to the aldermen, Monday afternoon Mayor Barrett says he’s withdrawing Nannis from consideration. Aldermen raised objections when Nannis started showing up at City Hall and doing the job before he was confirmed by the council. It also came to light that a private company owned by Nannis got half a million dollars in consulting contracts from the health department over the last decade.

Nannis says none of this would have kept him from doing the job well.

“I think the contracts to me would only serve to say I'm current, I'm familiar, I understand some of the things that are going on with the programs of the health department. I would think it would make me more attractive,” Nannis told CBS 58.

In his letter to the council, Mayor Barrett says he has another name in mind for the interim job but didn’t say who. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the council will vote on a resolution to name Dr. Pat McManus to serve as interim health commissioner.

Dr. McManus currently serves as the president of the Black Health Coalition.

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