Reps. Barca, Seidel and Sen. Miller introduce bill to reverse Gov. Walker's massive power grab
Bill would ensure positions are filled by most qualified candidates, not candidates with closest political connections
MADISON – Today, Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and Assistant Democratic Leader Donna Seidel (D-Wausau), along with Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, introduced a bill to repeal measures that allow Gov. Walker to replace 39 civil service positions in state agencies with his own political appointees. These provisions were included in the budget repair bill, the same bill legislative Republicans used to strip away 50 years of workers’ rights.
Democrats previously warned that converting these positions could result in inappropriate behavior by appointees who were loyal to the politician who appointed them instead of serving the taxpayers of Wisconsin. Democrats offered several amendments to the budget repair bill to remove these provisions, but Republican legislative leaders rejected all of them.
“This was a key element in one of biggest power grabs in state history,” Rep. Barca said. “This bill would help restore Wisconsin’s tradition and clean and open government and ensure we have civil servants who are working for the public interest, not cronies working for the political interest of Gov. Walker or any future governor. We need to focus on jobs for all Wisconsin workers – not just those who are politically connected.”
In the past several months, it was discovered that at least two well-connected political appointees in the Walker Administration were being paid substantially more than would be expected despite dubious qualifications for their jobs. This week, another one of Gov. Walker’s appointees was moved away from the governor’s office under a cloud of unanswered questions and given a taxpayer-funded salary 61 percent higher than the previous person who held the job.
“These appointments send a terrible message to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who have lost their jobs or have seen their incomes decrease because of the economic downturn,” Rep. Seidel said. “This is a very basic good government proposal, and it should receive bipartisan support.”