MADISON (WKOW) -- State records released to WKOW 27 News show candidates for various jobs in Governor Walker's administration were passed over despite recommendations from high-level officials, while a woman with ties to Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) was hired to a position with an immediate salary increase, without formally being recorded as a job applicant.
Officials said Valerie Cass, 26, was hired to a limited term communications specialist position in the department of regulation and licensing last month at a pay rate thirty five percent higher than the worker she replaced because the position's duties were expanded to include legislative outreach activities. Cass' salary is equivalent to $42,328 annually. Sources confirmed Cass has a relationship with Hopper, who is estranged from his wife and in the midst of a pending divorce matter. Hopper has denied to WKOW 27 News playing any role in Cass' hire.
Gubernatorial transition team records show dozens of applicants for jobs of all descriptions in many state agencies, but Cass' name does not appear in the records. During the compilation of the record of applicants, Governor Walker's spokesperson Cullen Werwie said Cass was in Washington, D.C. helping Reince Priebus' successful bid to become Republican national committee chairman, and was not included in the formal list.
Several applicants in the records were listed as being out-of-state.
Records in some cases also noted who recommended the applicant. Those offering recommendations included republican state senators Leah Vukmir, Dale Schultz, Mike Ellis, Dan Kapanke and Alberta Darling. The positions applied for ranged from general work to a department executive assistant.
Department of Administration spokesperson Carla Vigue said there's no record of any of those listed as possessing recommendations from the senators as being hired.
Bruce Marcus of La Crosse was listed as applying for a position in communications in the department of regulation and licensing. Marcus told WKOW 27 News while his work history was almost entirely in radio broadcasting, he was acquainted with Walker and other administration officials. Marcus said he was available for limited term employment because at the time of his application he was working part-time. Marcus said he was not invited to interview for a position, and now works as news director of a Michigan radio station.
Cass' resume released to WKOW27 News listed a journalism degree from Marquette University, a stint as an aide to former state senator Ted Kanavas, and positions with ties to Republican political campaigns. A December email released to WKOW 27 News shows Cass corresponded with then-transition director Keith Gilkes about procuring unspecified work with the governor's administration.