Wisconsin Public Radio

Evers, GOP Fight Over Walker Appointees

Evers re-nominates 67 Walker appointees he rescinded, but Senate won't consider them.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Mar 30th, 2019 02:55 pm
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Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

State lawmakers won’t act on 67 appointments forwarded by Gov. Tony Evers this week, the leader of the state Senate said Friday.

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, sent a letter to Evers on Friday morning saying the appointments to a number of state boards and commissions must have been sent to lawmakers “in error” and that they won’t be considered for confirmation by the Senate.

Fitzgerald contends a state appellate court decision earlier this week means former Gov. Scott Walker’s appointments to those positions still hold.

“Any attempt to change these appointments would violate the court order and I will not participate in any such action,” Fitzgerald wrote.

The appellate court decision put on hold a Dane County judge’s ruling last week that threw out the entire lame-duck session as unconstitutional and invalid.

Before the appellate court action, Evers used power given to him by the Dane County ruling to rescind 82 appointments made by Walker and confirmed by the Senate during the lame-duck session. The move stoked the ire of legislators, who pointed out a pending stay by the appellate court could invalidate his action.

But Evers contends the action needed to be taken.

“The (Dane County) judge invalidated those appointments by the Legislature and Gov. Walker,” Evers told a crowd at a Daily Reporter event in Madison on Friday. “In order to make those positions whole, we had to rescind those positions.”

Shortly after the stay was granted, Evers nominated 67 of the 82 Walker appointees to return to their jobs.

“Many of those positions are relatively low-profile … we have trouble finding people to serve on those,” Evers said. “We knew all along, and I’ve said it all along, some of those people will be reappointed, and we did.”

Evers hasn’t acted, however, on 15 of the 82 Walker appointments. Those include spots on the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents and the powerful Public Service Commission, which regulates public utilities across the state. Commissioner Ellen Nowak, one of the Walker appointees, attempted to show up to work this week and was turned away.

Most of the positions, with the exception of the Public Service Commission role, are unpaid.

Listen to the WPR report here.

Gov. Tony Evers, GOP Lawmakers Continue Fight Over Walker Appointees was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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