On Monday, ThinkProgress noted that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) was using state funds to pay more than $81,500 a year to Brian Deschane, a 26-year-old son of a major campaign donor with no college degree and two drunken-driving convictions. The job involved overseeing state environmental and regulatory issues and managing dozens of Commerce Department employees.
Yesterday, after the media reported on the hiring, Walker abruptly reversed course and removed Deschane from his position. Despite calling Deschane a “natural fit” just last week, Walker spokesman Cullen Werwise said Tuesday that the Governor decided “to move in another direction” after learning of the details of the appointment.
Yet, Deschane will still serve in the Administration, returning to his previous job where he made $64,000 a year. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D) says he continues to be “concerned about whether [Deschane] was hired properly under the civil service system.”
Those concerns appear to be well-founded. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals that Walker Commerce Secretary Paul Jadin choose Deschane as head of environmental and regulatory affairs at the Commerce Department over two highly qualified former state officials with extensive experience in state government:
The first [potential candidate] Oscar Herrera, is a former state cabinet secretary under Republican Gov. Scott McCallum with a doctoral degree and eight years’ experience overseeing the cleanup of petroleum-contaminated sites.
The second, Bernice Mattsson, is a professional engineer who served since 2003 in the post to which Deschane was appointed.
Herrera and Mattsson didn’t get far in the process.
“Neither candidate was interviewed,” said agency spokesman Tony Hozeny. [...]
Still, Hozeny said, Herrera and Mattsson expressed an interest in the job of administrator of the Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services.
The scandal comes amidst a larger effort by Walker to strip the Department of Commerce of its regulatory and environmental functions and transform the Department “into a public-private hybrid in charge of attracting and retaining businesses.”