Taking charge before taking office - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Taking charge before taking office: Gov.-Elect Walker makes requests of Doyle


By Derek Staahl - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor-Elect Scott Walker wants to put a stop to some of the work the current administration is doing.

In a letter dated Nov. 10 and released to the media Thursday, Walker asked the Doyle Administration for five policy changes.

They include holding off on implementing federal health care reform, stopping contract negotiations with state employees, freezing the permanent hiring of civil service personnel, converting the Charter Street Power Plant into a natural gas boiler rather than a bio-fuel boiler, and delaying the introduction of any new administrative rules.

Political analysts say the letter amounts to a demand for Doyle officials to step aside, and stop governing.

"That's not something I've seen before, that's not typical behavior in transitions," said Mike McCabe, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. "It sends a 'my way or the highway' kind of message."

Both Doyle and Walker officials acknowledge the letter is simply a request, and the Doyle Administration is under no legal obligation to honor it.

"Obviously he's the governor until right until I take the oath of office on January 3rd," said Walker to UPFRONT's Mike Gousha.

Cooperation during a transition from one party to another has happened in the past, says former Wisconsin Governor Scott McCallum.

"I think it's very astute of the incoming administration to make that request. They're looking down the line at the difficult job they're going to have balancing the budget, and keeping a hold on expenditures in the state of Wisconsin."

McCallum says he held off on implementing some policies in the months before Jim Doyle took office, even though Doyle never formally requested policy changes from him.

Late Thursday, the Doyle administration sent a response to Scott Walker's letter.

They said they will continue to try to work with his team, but added, "With respect to the specific items you mention, obviously you have not had the opportunity to be briefed on these items."

The Doyle Administration says it has extended an offer to fully brief Walker's team, and that the offer still stands.

Department of Administration spokeswoman Emily Winecke declined to answer questions about whether Governor Doyle would honor any of Scott Walker's requests.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor-Elect Scott Walker has some requests of the outgoing Doyle administration. The requests came in the form of a letter to the Department of Administration.

The Governor-Elect said he appreciates the governor's gracious cooperation since Election Day. He goes on to say as he prepares to govern he respectfully asks the Doyle Administration to consider the following requests.

Walker asks for a temporary freeze on any new implementation of the federal health care law, including the establishment of exchanges, until after January 3, 2011. Earlier this week, Walker authorized Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to join other states in suing the federal government to opt-out of the new federal health care law. 

Concerning state employee contracts, Walker asks for all contract negotiations to be suspended until after January 3rd. Currently those contracts are being negotiated with the Office of State Employee Relations. 

Walker would like a freeze on all permanent hires in the final two months of the Doyle administration. The Governor-Elect believes that in the past the common practice was to move political appointees into permanent civil service positions. He'd like all appointees to go through the same application process as any other civil servants.

Walker also requests:

Charter Street Power Plant.  According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state could save up to $100 million by installing a natural gas boiler rather than the planned bio-fuel boiler.  Media reports indicate that natural gas actually scored the highest overall when judged on environmental, economic and reliability grounds.  Because Wisconsin can both save money and still meet environmental benchmarks, I ask that the Doyle Administration begin making plans to shift to natural gas rather than bio-fuel at the Charter Street Power Plant.

Administrative Rules.  I ask that your Administration delay the promulgation of any new, or updated, administrative rules until after January 3rd.  I feel strongly that if new or updated rules were urgently needed, they would have been completed prior to now.  Reworking hastily implemented administrative rules may have a serious negative impact on Wisconsin's ability to retain, expand and recruit jobs to Wisconsin.  I ask that all administrative rules under review remain at the agency preparing them until my Administration is in place.

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