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Milwaukee County courts, judiciary 10% more diverse over past decade

The Milwaukee County courts and judiciary became 10 percent more diverse in the past decade, according to an audit report from the Milwaukee County Office of the Comptroller.

The report assesses the makeup of the county’s workforce over the past 10 years. It counted full-time, non-elected county employees.

The racial makeup of the entire county workforce has seen minimal change in the past decade, according to the analysis, but data show reported diversity has increased by about 10% within the courts and judiciary. The information about the county’s courts and judiciary staff is illustrated below:


People who are Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Native American, Alaskan or more than one race remain fairly rare in the county’s workforce. That also holds true for the courts and judiciary.

The report also analyzed the county’s workforce by sex, though it only allowed employees to identify as male or female. Fifty-two percent of county employees were female in 2019, fewer than the average for the courts and judiciary over the past decade:


In every year reviewed by the audit, women who work for the county earned less than the countywide average. The difference increased in the past decade, despite more women becoming top earners in the countywide workforce. Women made up 49 percent of the county’s top 100 earners in 2019, according to the data.

The director of audits said the report is intended to help policymakers and hiring managers work toward new goals for equality. The report recommended the county work with other agencies to form a plan to diversify their staffs and set up a system to monitor variances in salaries with the goal of eliminating racial discrepancies.

Other statistics about the county workforce as a whole:

  • Black employees had the lowest average salary in three out of the four years reviewed, and they made up 50 percent of the county’s workforce earning the bottom third of salaries.
  • The county lost more than a thousand employees over the past decade, and the average length of service for the county’s workforce dropped by about three-and-a-half years to 9.1 years.
  • The highest salary in the county was $304,763, and the lowest was $27,872. On average, county employees make $56,747 a year.
  • Before June 2013, Milwaukee County employees had to live in the county within six months of employment. The law changed, and so did the places the county’s workforce calls home. The number of employees living outside the county in 2009 was 3.6 percent, down from 14.5 percent in 2019.

About Michaela Paukner, [email protected]

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at [email protected]

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