South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks is resigning effective November 22.
“I don’t take this decision lightly. I’ve been thinking about it for months and now is a good time for me to do it personally, professionally and politically, ”Brooks said in a statement posted to his blog on Nov. 3.
Brooks, mayor for more than seven years, leaves about a year and a half before his term is elected in April 2023. City council will have to decide whether a special election will be held to fill the vacant seat.
Brooks said Common Council chairman David Bartoshevich is likely to become acting mayor, at least in the interim.
Brooks said he would use his free time to refocus on his wife and children. He also has career aspirations through his strategic communications company, Brooks Communications.
“I am proud of the forward-looking clients I have partnered with and the projects I have supported since launching the firm last year,” he wrote on his blog. “I can now redouble my efforts (and maybe increase my income a bit too). “
Brooks will also focus on sports. He accepted a position as head coach of women’s college basketball at St. Anthony High School in Milwaukee last week. Additionally, he plans to lead the basketball team at South Shore Crush Club, which he formed in 2021.
“We didn’t win much, but we grew up as a basketball family and learned life lessons that you can only get on a basketball court,” he said. “I’m excited to see where Crush is heading in year two and beyond.”
In his blog post, Brooks highlighted what he saw as victories during his tenure, including public and private investment in South Milwaukee, redevelopments – especially downtown – and plans for the lakefront and Oak Creek watershed.
However, he admits that not everything has been pleasant, with personal attacks and negativity a regular part of being mayor. He said these attacks “took their toll, cleared my skin, and robbed me of a lot of the excitement, exuberance and energy I once had for this job.” He said it was time to go beyond.
“There have always been and always will be those who thrive on the politics of division and discord, those who rejoice in making this zero-sum game ‘us against them’, where ‘I not only have to win. but you must lose, and I must make a fool of you for it, ”Brooks wrote. “The voices of these people are louder than ever today, too often driven by misinformation, amplified by social media and emboldened by leaders who have their own agenda. It doesn’t make me angry, as much as it makes me sad.
Brooks hopes to still have a positive effect on the community.
“We can all work to make a difference, including me. It always starts locally, ”he said. “That’s why I don’t stray from driving positive change in my community. Far from there. I’m just finding new ways to do it.
Will he ever return to the public service? He said never say never, but he’s “definitely done for now.”
“I love South Milwaukee and am always so excited about so much that is happening in this community,” said Brooks. “Even in these historically difficult times, our future in many ways is more than bright, anchored more firmly than ever in our proud past.”