Bill Would Prevent Wisconsin Governor From Appointing DNR Secretary
For sixty-seven years Wisconsin had a rich and proud tradition of having the DNR Secretary appointed by the Natural Resources Board. In 1995 Governor Thompson claimed that power as his own within the Executive Branch. It is rather surprising to some that Governor Doyle, once a critic of the change, has now also embraced the power to make the selection. Thankfully there is a vocal segment of the Wisconsin State Legislature, and a huge swath of the citizenry that is determined to use their power to stop the political games over the selection process by governors from both parties.
The next step in “how a bill becomes a law’ takes place on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 when Assembly Bill 138 will get a hearing before the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources at 11:00 A.M. in Room 417 North of the State Capitol. The public is invited to attend and present testimony.
Governor Doyle had at one time supported the idea of an independent DNR Secretary. However relinquishing power and control is hard for any executive branch to do, which is one reason it is important to be judicious about granting powers in the first place. While I applaud the work of the current state legislature to undo this damage, we also must be mindful that it was another bunch of legislators who found it so difficult to say no to the whims of Thompson in the first place.
My concern with this matter continues to be the degree of politics that needlessly is embedded in having any governor, of any political stripe, make the appointment of the person who is supposed to oversee the protection of our natural resources. These matters are far too vital and fragile to leave to any one person, be it Jim Doyle, or say a future Scott Walker.
Do I need to say more?
I have never viewed this issue as a political one from the time I started railing about it in the mid-90′s. Instead it is a process question that cuts to the core of how our state government functions. We need to remove the temptation from a politically minded person, be they Democrat or Republican, to use this selection to sway policy for anything other than what is in the best interest of the natural resources we treasure.