The fact that Walker hired a lobbyist’s college drop out kid for a plum job is old news for you if you’re from Wisconsin. But clearly it’s still got legs. And this is fine by me.
Gail Collins’ New York Times piece is called “Wanna buy a Turnpike?” The entirety of the article focuses on that set of new Republican governors who are nailing an “Open for Business” sign on anything that doesn’t move.
“…In Wisconsin, Governor Walker is moving people around like crazy. He tapped Brian Deschane, a director at the Department of Regulation and Licensing, to oversee regulatory and environmental issues when the Commerce Department turns into the new public-private thingie.
This was a meteoric rise for Deschane, a 27-year-old college dropout who had been at his job for only a couple of months. The promotion carried a 26 percent raise in salary to $81,500 a year, along with the opportunity to manage dozens of other state employees. It offered an exciting change of pace for the Wisconsin wunderkind, whose previous experience had mainly involved short-term political campaign jobs and working for the Wisconsin Builders Association, where his father, Jerry, is a lobbyist and executive vice president. Did we mention that the W.B.A. and its members gave Walker $121,652 in campaign contributions?
“He got the position himself,” the elder Deschane assured The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I didn’t get it for him.” He did acknowledge that he might have mentioned to Walker’s campaign manager that the kid was “out there and available.”
People, does this sound like good planning to you? If you were governor and one of your top priorities was getting jobs taken out from under civil service protection, wouldn’t you put up a Post-it reminding yourself not to put the unqualified offspring of major campaign contributors in important positions?
After the story broke, the governor was deeply embarrassed, and Deschane — did we mention he had two D.W.I. convictions? — was demoted back to his original job, which he then quit. He is history, although Stephen Fitzgerald, the father of the speaker of the Assembly and also the father of the speaker’s brother, the Senate majority leader, still has his new job as head of the Wisconsin State Patrol.
There is, you know, a reason we created civil service in the first place”