Fiscal Responsibility on Display in Wisconsin

Apparently in the Walker administration, one need not be qualified to get an $80k/year position.

Via the Journal Sentinel online:  No degree, little experience pay off big

Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.

Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.

I suppose that this might be a great example of Governor Scott Walker’s assertion that public workers are overpaid if Walker had not appointment the gentleman in question to the position in the first place.

And, then there’s this:

His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-basedWisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year’s governor’s race.

The group’s political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor’s successful campaign. Even more impressive, members of the trade group funneled more than $92,000 through its conduit to Walker’s campaign over the past two years.

Total donations: $121,652.

Of course, the elder Deschane insists:

“He got the position himself,” said Jerry Deschane, who returned to the trade group in September after a hiatus during which he worked as an independent lobbyist for many groups, including the builders association. “I didn’t get it for him.”

While I will confess that I have no inside knowledge on said issue, I find the assertion a bit absurd on its face.

Ultimately the choices are that a) Walker gave a sweetheart deal to the son of a political ally, b)he hired someone who clearly (and radically) under qualified for management position, or c) all of the above.

There really is not an answer here that reflects well on Walker.

In general, I must confess that there has been little coming from Walker’s administration that make me think that he is actually concerned about good governance.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. jwest says:

    This is sheer hypocrisy.

    Republicans campaign on good governance, so nepotism and featherbedding is hypocritical.

    Democrats make no illusions that government positions will go to their friends, family and contributors without regard to qualifications, so they are immune to any comparison.

  2. Barry says:

    jwest: “Democrats make no illusions that government positions will go to their friends, family and contributors without regard to qualifications, so they are immune to any comparison.”

    Do you get your news from talk radio?

  3. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to learn that there is cronyism in Wisconsin politics.

  4. Hey Norm says:

    So-called republicans have never been fiscally responsible. The only thing really ever in question is what you want to spend money on. Bringing it to the nat’l level – Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, and their ilk had no problem borrowing money to cut taxes on the rich to an absurdly low level, or expanding Medicare for their base, or invading and occupying another nation in a holy crusade. It’s the middle class and the sick they don’t care about. It’s not about cutting costs…if it were they would rally behind the republican health care bill called ACA. It’s about cutting costs on things you don’t care about so you can give tax cuts to the rich. And Walker gave a bunch of tax cuts to the rich in Wisconsin.

  5. steve says:

    I think this best viewed as part of the GOP crusade against education. You do not need a degree for the job. OTOH, it could also be a case of making sure that government is incompetent so that you can then run against government. In either case, it is good electoral politics.

    Steve

  6. anjin-san says:

    > I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to learn that there is cronyism in Wisconsin politics.

    Well, it’s certain that no one is shocked to learn that Walker’s “ideals” have turned out to be hot air, and that his attack on teachers was simply a power play that has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility.

  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    Awww, jwest has a butthurt.

  8. Sounds like an argument for smaller government.

    It is something of a leap to go from one patronage job (which I do not defend or support) to implying little to no concern with good governance. You’re moving into Young Mr. Yglesias or Young Mr. Klein territory now.

  9. TG Chicago says:

    It’s funny how hard-right folks are incapable of admitting that one of their guys made a mistake. Patrick and jwest are distracting from the issue rather than just saying, “Yeah, he screwed up that one.”

    Being a winger means you are never, ever wrong about anything.

  10. anjin-san says:

    > Sounds like an argument for smaller government.

    Really? How? Do you have an argument that shows that the position in question is unnecessary?

    What it really sounds like is an argument for responsible government.

  11. jwest says:

    TG Chicago,

    I think you’re misinterpreting my comment.

    If left up to me, I would have a full investigation of this incident and if it turned out Walker had any role in the hiring and the individual was indeed not qualified, I would support impeachment, removal and criminal charges against the Governor.

    Of course, I would hope that democrats would apply the same standard to their elected officials, starting in Chicago.

  12. reid says:

    Sounds like an argument for smaller government.

    No, it’s an argument for not voting for weasels like Walker. Integrity matters.

  13. mpw280 says:

    Yep whoever got the position was going to get 80k a year due to how the system works. That he appointed it to a friend is again no real surprise. The 26% raise is a bit of an embarrassment and probably should not have happened given the gov’s platform, but do you really think the gov gave him the raise or some lifer in the government that might have political reasons to give the raise? As to politically connected hiring what do you dems thinks happens in Illinois, you know the state where our Pres cut his political teeth? If you want politically connected hiring just look at some of the insulation that Obama has installed around him, Rahm was probably the most grounded in reality and he is now in charge of the worst political cesspool of the country. mpw

  14. wr says:

    So the response from the right is essentially that they don’t really care about government waste or corruption at all. It’s only bad when Dems do it. Go Tea Party!

  15. As to politically connected hiring

    The issues, per se, to me is not politically connected hiring, but politically connected hiring of someone who is utterly unqualified for the position.

    If the information in the story is accurate, this is an especially egregious example of cronyism at its worst.

  16. Tano says:

    Of course, I would hope that democrats would apply the same standard to their elected officials, starting in Chicago.

    Why not focus on one issue at a time, and have the courage to make a clear statement? Lets start with this specific job in Wisconsin. You are trying to hide behind the “they all do it” dodge. So please explain – who did this kid replace in this specific job? Was it some equally unqualified hack appointed by the previous administration? Or was it a competent civil servant?
    Does it even matter to you?

  17. Steve Verdon says:

    Republicans campaign on good governance, so nepotism and featherbedding is hypocritical.

    Yeah now if we all voted Democrat this would never ever happen again. Ever.

  18. PD Shaw says:

    If this were Illinois, I would not assume he wasn’t qualified for the job, after all he had two years of college and a job in political organizing. I’d rather assume the job was not essential.

    Tano asks some good questions. I’d also be curious to know what the compensation package is for the people he will be managing. Part of the problem with public unions is that it tends to discourage people experienced in the area from seeking a promotion to mid-management for fear of making less.

  19. wr says:

    Verdon — Yes, again, nice move to change the subject. But we’re talking about a governor who is attempting to slash the wages of state workers and eliminate their rights on the excuse that the state is broke. Meanwhile, he’s handing out high-paying state jobs to the kid of his donor and the girlfriend of the married leader of the state senate — and giving them gigantic raises. That’s what’s at issue here. Feel free to defend that.

  20. Jason says:

    During my time in service, we were told over and over again to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Even if there is a perfectly valid reason for this hiring (and based on the current information, I doubt it), the appearance of it is horrible. Stupid and hypocritical is too kind.

  21. TG Chicago says:

    Of course, I would hope that democrats would apply the same standard to their elected officials, starting in Chicago.

    I’d like that, too. Instead, we’re likely to get Graft-o-Rahma.

  22. sam says:
  23. sam says:
  24. Steve Verdon says:

    Verdon — Yes, again, nice move to change the subject. But we’re talking about a governor who is attempting to slash the wages of state workers and eliminate their rights on the excuse that the state is broke. Meanwhile, he’s handing out high-paying state jobs to the kid of his donor and the girlfriend of the married leader of the state senate — and giving them gigantic raises. That’s what’s at issue here. Feel free to defend that.

    I’m not defending anything here. Nepotism is bad and it is practiced by both sides. You find an example, I find a counter example. Meh, sorry boring. Trying to pass this kind of hypocrisy off on just Rs or Ds is the last bastion of the stoopid.

  25. wr says:

    Verdon — Again you miss — or duck — the point. It’s not just nepotism. It’s using the government as your private piggy bank to pay off your friends while you are slashing the pay of actual government workers because you claim the state is broke. You say “meh” and claim it’s boring, because it’s not your livelihood that is being stolen by this bunch of thugs so that their buddies can live the good life.

    And you also ignore the fact that this puts the lie to every thieving Republican who is trying to claim deficit reduction as an excuse to hurt the poor and the middle class. Because it’s obvious from this that the great deficit cutters don’t actually give a damn about the deficit. That’s just their weapon of choice.

    But maybe that’s boring to you, too.

  26. mantis says:

    Verdon’s position is quite clear. You only talk about this kind of thing when Democrats do it. If Republicans do it, then you change the subject just talk about Democrats doing it. If people call you on it, wave your hands and claim to be bored with the “your side does it too” argument that you started.

    What you don’t do is address Republican malfeasance. Ever.

  27. Steve Verdon says:

    wr,

    Verdon — Again you miss — or duck — the point. It’s not just nepotism. It’s using the government as your private piggy bank to pay off your friends while you are slashing the pay of actual government workers because you claim the state is broke. You say “meh” and claim it’s boring, because it’s not your livelihood that is being stolen by this bunch of thugs so that their buddies can live the good life.

    Yes it is my livelihood, I pay taxes too. Granted not in Wisconsin, but the idea that this is just a Wisconsin/Republican/Conservative issue completely misses the point that both sides feed at this trough. Yes, handing out political positions like this is indefensible, but to then say, “Oh look at the Republican’s rank hypocrisy” is implicitly denying the same or very similar practices by the other side.

    mantis,

    Verdon’s position is quite clear. You only talk about this kind of thing when Democrats do it.

    Keep up that honest streak by making up positions for others. Easiest argument to beat…a fake argument nobody has made.

    If Republicans do it, then you change the subject just talk about Democrats doing it.

    See, the problem is that both sides have done it, do it right now, and will continue to do it. Are politicians hypocrites? Yes. Is Walker some bastion of courage and principle…Hell know the man is totally mercenary, a complete sleaze bag….he’s a politician. He’d probably sell out his grandmother for the right price.

    So right now your side gets to sit there towering with indignation and wave your fingers. But the next time a Democrat is caught with his hands in the cookie jar you guys will switch roles effortlessly. After all your guys are the good guys right?

  28. wr says:

    Ah, Verdon, how effortlessly you continue to duck the real issue here. Because you simply can’t admit that the Republican deficit hysteria is nothing but a fraud, and that as soon as they can make sure the nozzles are pointed at their friends, the spigots will be wide open again. And of course you’ll go back to repeating Dick Cheney’s mantra that deficits don’t matter.

    Is there any aspect of right wing “philosophy” that isn’t entirely fraudulent? I mean, aside from the worship of wealth and the hatred of working people?

  29. tom p says:

    So right now your side gets to sit there towering with indignation and wave your fingers. But the next time a Democrat is caught with his hands in the cookie jar you guys will switch roles effortlessly. After all your guys are the good guys right?

    Steve, I am sorry, but you drew a road map and then you are going to complain when others follow it?

    Look, it is real simple, repeat after me: “Scott Walker is a slime ball.” Go ahead… you can say it…

    And don’t worry, a Dem will F up soon enuf and you can tell me to do the same!

    NASDROVYA! (and no, I have no idea how to spell that) but it is still a great toast!

  30. tom p says:

    especially over a glass of single malt.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    …but the idea that this is just a Wisconsin/Republican/Conservative issue completely misses the point that both sides feed at this trough.

    Actually, the point is that this is going on while Walker is screaming about fiscal responsibility and insisting that he has to stick it to the public employee unions to get that…this kind of feeding at the trough doesn’t really do much to cement his fiscal responsibility (or really any kind of responsibility) credentials…it couldn’t be that he simply wants to stick it to public employee unions to hurt his political opponents, could it? How shocking…

  32. george says:

    Actually, the point is that this is going on while Walker is screaming about fiscal responsibility and insisting that he has to stick it to the public employee unions to get that…this kind of feeding at the trough doesn’t really do much to cement his fiscal responsibility (or really any kind of responsibility) credentials

    That indeed is the point. Its not about the party in particular (both Democrats and Republicans have pulled off some pretty bad examples of political payback), but its the timing of talking of slashing the payroll while giving a very generous raise to a political friend. Both Democrats and Republicans should be outraged by this sort of thing whenever it happens, irrespective of the party doing it.

  33. […] Fiscal Responsibility on Display in Wisconsin […]

  34. Bill C. says:

    Karl Rove’s “American Crossroads” didn’t make a huge secret out of the fact that they were trying eliminate funding for Democrats by eliminating the cash-flow of unions, beginning with those in the public sector. Decades ago, he, among others, hoped that reconfiguring the American electorate with a religious-right, evangelical ‘makeover’ might incrementally create an ethos where Republicans would be ‘good’, while others not so much. It worked somewhat, but the bumps in the road illustrated by notably conservative politicians/preachers/radio talk-show hosts caught in compromising adulterous; drug-related; and/or gay news stories resulted in a public backlash with the word ‘hypocrisy’ becoming a repeated theme. Karl Rove is a brilliant statistician, but has a blind spot when it comes to how much responsibility he bears for recruiting liberals. George Will and Mitch Daniels have written or spoken about this concept of not mobilizing the opposition, a concept taught to every ninth grade debating team. The best strategy for all of us now would be for Mr. Rove to retire.

  35. sam says:

    Somebody handed Walker the clue rake:

    Walker demotes son of campaign contributor

  36. […] I noted the curious tale of a Walker (governor of Wisconsin) appointee who was given an $80k/year job with seemingly […]

  37. mardsden says:

    Oh, you pay taxes – yeah, sure, that puts some skin in the game.

    Mr. Verdon, what I think you’re missing here is, yes the hypocrisy of the GOP on this issue.

    I know you like trying to implicate both sides on this issue, but yes, you are missing the point.

    It is the GOP, not the Democrats, who froth themselves into a rage over accountability, meritocracy, and fiscal sanity. Those are not stereotypical Dem issues and while Dems do claim to advocate for them, they simply do not get as boiling mad and self-righteous over them. Really, they don’t.

    What Dems have, in recent memory, worked themselves up into fits over was the incompetence of Bush’s war-management, for example. So the issue isn’t mere hypocrisy, but staggering hypocrisy over core issues. That, I think, is what you are not appreciating. Fiscal issues of deficits are things that don’t get most Dems super pissed; it’s letting old people die or stay sick because they are too poor to get treatment. Or, venerating ‘tradition’ when advocating for it means homosexuals are degraded – and for NO GOOD REASON. Citing an ancient text is NOT a reason.

    That’s why Dems were repulsed at Bush flying overnight to intervene in Schiavo -or their support of Palin, who had an unwed teen daughter and mainstream conservative pundits refused to condemn her.

    It’s also why many Dems have been disgusted with Obama – core issues that WE advocate for, that are moral imperatives worth fighting for – inclusiveness and dignity irrespective of sexual choices that are a matter of consent – of liberty – Obama has not FOUGHT for them.

    That, I think, is why I disagree with your constant refrain: both sides do it and always will, blah blah blah.

    That’s not the point. The point is that Repubs are grotesquely negating their own core values in a crass, yet again shameless way, and no Republican ever calls them out on this on the natl scene.

    The issue isn’t hypocrisy, but shameless, unapologetic betrayal of core values that they trumpet on a daily basis. It’s that they are repellantly self-contradictory on issues they claim to value.

    If you can’t see this, if you will continue to refuse to see the kernel of truth in this critique of your position, then there really is nothing left to say. You’re just too partisan and the discussion has ended, and in bad faith on your part, I would add.

    Another example: