Why Do We Have an Ethics Board?
It is declared that high moral and ethical standards among county public officials and county employees are essential to the conduct of free government. The County believes that a code of ethics for the guidance of county public officials and county employees will help them avoid conflicts between their personal interests and their public responsibilities, will improve standards of public service, and will promote and strengthen the faith and confidence of the people of this County. It is the intent of the County that in its operations the board shall protect to the fullest extent possible the rights of individuals affected.
The Ethics Board is responsible for enforcing and interpreting the Ethics Code, Chapter 9 of the Milwaukee County General Ordinances and various provisions of Chapter 14 of the Milwaukee County General Ordinances.
To achieve these goals of maintaining high ethical standards, the Ethics Board has the following primary duties:
- Issue confidential advisory opinions to Milwaukee County employees and public officials with respect to their own situation or plans
- Investigate requests for investigations and verified complaints. The Ethics Board provides a formal process for filing complaints
- Review the annual filing of financial statements (Statement of Economic Interests). The individuals required to file such statements are determined by respective department administrators according to ordinance requirements and may be subject to review by the Ethics Board
The Ethics Code applies to all Milwaukee County employees and public officials – not just elected officials. The Ethics Code covers office holders, candidates for public office, classified employees, exempt employees, appointees to boards and commissions, and vendors doing business with Milwaukee County.
The Ethics Board consists of six Milwaukee County residents (M.C.G.O. § 9.07(1)(a)). Pursuant to M.C.G.O. § 9.07(1)(b) the County Executive solicits two nominations from each of the following:
- The President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- The Board Chair of the Wisconsin Policy Forum
- The Board Chair of the Greater Milwaukee Committee
- The President of the Milwaukee Bar Association
- The Board Chair of the Inter-Faith Conference of Greater Milwaukee
- The President of the Board of the League of Women Voters of Greater Milwaukee
The County Executive then selects and submits the name of one of the nominees to the County Board for confirmation (M.C.G.O. § 9.07(1)(e)).
If you are interested in serving on the Ethics Board, contact one of the nominating authorities. Candidate résumés must be provided to the County Board 30 days prior to the confirmation hearing.
See Ethics Board members.
Each Ethics Board member is appointed for a term of six years (M.C.G.O. § 9.07(1)(f)). An Ethics Board member is limited to two consecutive terms on the Ethics Board and may not serve on the Ethics Board for more than 12 consecutive years (M.C.G.O. § 9.07(1)(g)).
Duties Regarding the Lobbying Code
The Ethics Board:
- Prescribes forms and instructions for preparing and filing registration applications and expense statements governed by M.C.G.O., Chapter 14
- Prepares and publishes a manual setting forth recommended uniform methods of accounting and reporting for use by persons who are required to provide information or file statements under M.C.G.O., Chapter 14
- Adopts such rules as may be necessary to enforce the various provisions of M.C.G.O, Chapter 14, including a schedule of sanctions and forfeitures pursuant to Section, 14.11
Christopher Meuler, Chair - Term Expires 02/28/2022 (Nominee: Milwaukee Bar Association)
Mr. Christopher Meuler is a graduate of Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin Law School. He is an attorney at Friebert, Finerty & St. John, S.C., where he maintains a general litigation practice with emphasis in the area of business litigation, eminent domain, insurance coverage, appellate work, contract disputes and bid protests. Mr. Meuler serves as local counsel for a number of national law firms when disputes arise in Wisconsin. In addition, Mr. Meuler pursues his interest in politics with a concentration in election law. He has worked on numerous election recounts and nomination paper challenges, and has advised both sides of the aisle on campaign finance and other issues.
After graduating from Marquette University, Mr. Meuler worked on the 1996 presidential campaign, followed by work in governmental affairs. He then served as a high school teacher before attending the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Mr. Meuler is a member of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin and American Bar Associations.
Christine Hansen - Term Expires 04/01/2023 (Nominee: League of Women Voters)
Ms. Christine Hansen received her bachelor's degree in sociology and her J.D. from Marquette University Law School (cum laude). Ms. Hansen has served as associate general counsel: north american sales for Harley-Davidson Motor Company. She has held her own private practice as well as served as an associate in the litigation department of Reinhart, Boerner and Van Dueren, S.C.. Currently Ms. Hansen is pursuing her interest in travel-writing and photography.
Ms. Hansen serves as the director and bulletin editor for the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County and volunteers in the Hope House food pantry.
Clarence P. Nicholas - Term Expires 03/12/2026 (Nominee: NAACP)
A lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); 1st vice president of the Milwaukee Branch NAACP, once served as the education chair, assistant, and secretary of the Milwaukee Branch. Mr. Nicholas is a retired MPS teacher of 40 years (two years as principal), bachelor's and master's degrees in education, principal's license, completed doctoral coursework for superintendent/district superintendent license and a paralegal. He piloted and incorporated the former Cornerstone Achievement Academy, Inc. Partnership School - Milwaukee Public School District.
He is married to his wife Dr. Gloria Pitchford-Nicholas, former dean of MATC Pre-College Milwaukee. They have four daughters, four granddaughters and one grandson. He is deacon, church clerk and Sunday school superintendent of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Nicholas also worked in the MATC School of Liberal Arts & Sciences for four years, and is currently a part-time teacher at MATC School of Pre-College (GED/Social Studies).
Dana Guthrie - Term Expires 12/12/2025 (Nominee: Greater Milwaukee Committee)
Dana Guthrie holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering and Master of Science in Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois – Chicago. She is a Product Manager at Johnson Controls, where she manages the product lifecycle for an industry-leading user interface. Dana also founded and manages an angel investment network, Alchemy Angel Investors, and serves as a board member for Doyenne Group.
Richard Donner - Term Expires 04/30/2027 (Nominee: Wisconsin Policy Forum)
Richard W. Donner is a shareholder in the Real Estate Department at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. where he focuses his practice on governmental relations, zoning, land use, property tax, eminent domain and other aspects of real estate development. Rick is co-author of the State Bar of Wisconsin publication Condemnation Law and Practice in Wisconsin and Chapter 7 of the State Bar of Wisconsin publication Commerical Real Estate Transactions, Title Insurance and Closing Protection Letters. He earned his B.A., with distinction, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. Rick lives in Shorewood, WI with his wife and two kids.
Rachel Yates - Term Expires 09/24/2026 (Nominee: Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee)
Rachel Yates is the Presbytery Executive for the Presbytery of Milwaukee. In this role, she helps the leadership of the Presbytery to implement its vision through innovative and strategic initiatives. She began in January 2018, after serving Presbyterian World Mission as its Associate Director for Program and a Church Support Associate. Yates is a ruling elder who practiced law in Colorado for 23 years. She and her husband have one daughter, who also lives in the Milwaukee area with her husband and son.