Milwaukee’s first female police chief, Nannette Hegerty, contends that she was discriminated against when a commission chose to pay her successor a higher salary than she received, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. At stake could be thousands of dollars of back pay as well as a boost to Hegerty’s pension, which is based on her last three years of salary. A city official said the differences between Hegerty’s background when she became chief in 2003 and that of current Chief Edward Flynn should disprove her claims of discrimination.
Hegerty is the second Milwaukee police chief who has pursued legal action against the city. Arthur Jones, the city’s first permanent African-American police chief, filed a racial discrimination complaint against the city with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2002. That grew into two lawsuits filed in 2004, after Jones lost a bid for mayor. Hegerty came to the chief’s job after serving as U.S. marshal in the eastern district of Wisconsin. She left earning a salary of $132,544. Flynn was hired last year after 20 years as police chief of five different departments. Flynn’s salary of $143,881 is 8.5 percent higher than what Hegerty made, but less than the $155,000 he received in his previous position as police commissioner for Springfield, Ma.