Top state administrator's daughter scored job during hiring freeze - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Top state administrator's daughter scored job during hiring freeze

MADISON (WKOW) -- Despite a state hiring freeze, a top Wisconsin Department of Revenue administrator's daughter landed work with her mother's department, with records of the hire's approval unavailable.

State officials said Maaina Mack was hired as a Customer Service Representative.  

Mack's mother is DOR Enterprises Services Administrator Kirbie Mack.

Two months before the younger Mack's start date, top state officials announced only extraordinarily important state positions would be filled as the state coped with a staggering budget deficit and reduced revenues.

"State government is in a hiring freeze,"  then-Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel told the Wisconsin Economic Development Association in October 2008.

In a Oct. 24, 2008 news release titled, "State Jobs won't be filled without DOA approval,"   Department of Administration Michael Morgan announced new guidelines for any additional employment costs. "Governor Doyle has directed me to serve as the review and approval authority for all state agency staffing actions."

Revenue Department officials said Mack's position pays a base salary of $31,600. Her mother's 2009 salary was $107,900.

DOA spokesperson Carla Vigue told WKOW27 News records of the dates Maaina Mack's position was first considered and then authorized have not been located.

Department of Revenue spokesperson Stephanie Marquis countered Mack's position, and fourteen other customer service representative positions filled in the first six months of the state's hiring freeze, were all reviewed by DOA.

Marquis provided this chronology of the administrator's daughter's hire:  (1) Mack was certified as the top candidate for the position Sept. 12, before the announcement of the hiring freeze (2) Mack was offered the job Nov. 18, during the freeze (3) Mack's start date was Dec. 8.

The state government accountability board states: "A public official may not use his or her office to bring about the state's...employment of the official's...dependent relative."

But GAB also states the hire of an official's dependent relative does not necessarily amount to nepotism.

"If the official is not involved in any way in the hiring...there is no good reason why a person, otherwise qualified, should be denied employment."

Marquis told WKOW27 News Kirbie Mack played no role in Maaina Mack's hire with the department.

"Mack's interview panel consisted of three individuals in the customer service area...and none of them reported to Kirbie Mack."

Kirbie Mack formerly served as the city of Madison's affirmative action officer.   

A city investigation into Mack's successor found Mack had left the office in a "culture of conflict."

Marquis justified Mack's daughter's hire and the hiring of the other customer service representatives as necessary, despite Doyle's directive to freeze hiring to the extent possible.

"Prior to the DOA directive, these were customer service vacancies that had been identified as critical to fill to ensure timely customer service."

"These individuals were hired to serve in the customer service area during the tax season."

Last year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on concerns over the hire of State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass' niece to a part-time position in the Treasurer's office.

Online reporting by Tony Galli.

New information in Inside Scoop blog:  Mack is lucky thirteen at



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