Hiring of GOP official's wife draws questionsDave Ross, Walker's secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, told the Journal Sentinel that he hired Angela Herl on merit alone and made the decision himself. Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor's office was not consulted about the appointment.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A state agency head in Gov. Scott Walker's administration late last year gave the wife of a Republican Party official a political appointment and a $27,000 raise, sparking criticism from Democrats who alleged it raised questions of cronyism.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday (http://tiny.cc/2fv9z ) that no other applicants were considered before Angela Herl was appointed in December to take over a state division with 40 employees that processes credentials for professionals including doctors.
She had not previously managed any staff during her 20 years working for the state as a payroll and benefits specialist.
Angela Herl is married to Mike Herl, chairman of the Dane County Republican Party. She received a 49 percent pay increase with the appointment to earn $81,265.
Because the job was a political appointment, no hiring process had to be followed.
Herl declined to comment, referring questions to other department officials.
Dave Ross, Walker's secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, told the Journal Sentinel that he hired Angela Herl on merit alone and made the decision himself. Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor's office was not consulted about the appointment.
"It appears almost the only credentials you need is to have the right connections," said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. "They don't seem to mind what the public perception is when they provide people with these huge pay increases."
Ross said he gave her the job because he was impressed with her work in payroll and believed she had a good understanding of the agency and could run the credentialing division even though she had not worked in that area before.
He said he did not consider anyone else for the job as administrator of the Division of Professional Credential Processing and did not ask for Herl's resume.
Early last year, Ross' agency hired Brian Deschane into a civil service job at the recommendation of Keith Gilkes, who was then Walker's chief of staff. Soon after, Deschane was promoted into a political appointment at the Department of Commerce, but in April Walker demoted him a day after the Journal Sentinel reported he had no college degree, little management experience and two convictions for drunken driving.
Deschane's father, Jerry Deschane, is the longtime lobbyist for the Wisconsin Builders Association, which directed more than $121,000 in the 2010 campaign to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.