When news broke on January 31st that Stephen Fitzgerald was in consideration to head Wisconsin’s State Patrol I objected on the grounds that it would appear he was using his sons’ political positions to leverage himself a job that pays $105,678.
After all, as I noted in my post “appearances matter”. That is perhaps more so in politics than anywhere else.
We are now all aware of the news announced yesterday that the father of the Assembly Speaker, and the Senate Majority Leader will now head up the State Patrol.
No one can say this was just the right person with the proper resume getting a plum assignment at the right time.
That pig ain’t gonna fly.
Today the Wisconsin State Journal pounced on the whole process that allowed for Stephen Fitzgerald to get the State Patrol job, even after his defeat in the fall election for Dodge County sheriff by a 2-to-1 margin.
Seems like the voters who knew Stephen Fitzgerald best summed up their feelings at the ballot box last year.
The State Journal termed this an “eye-rolling appointment” and then added this.
No matter Stephen Fitzgerald’s qualifications, his appointment looks like a goodwill offering from Gov. Scott Walker to the top two lawmakers Walker will need on board with his budget and policy agendas. We hope we’re wrong.
But even if we are, the pick could unnecessarily inject distrust into a host of state decisions. For example, will the Fitzgerald brothers running the Legislature support the smart idea of merging the State Patrol and Capitol Police to save money and improve response times — something that’s been floated in the past — if it also meant it could cost their dad his job?
In January when I wrote about this matter I made a most correct assessment of the matter.
At age 68, and with a few feathers already in his hat, I suggest Stephen Fitzgerald not use his sons’ political positions to leverage himself a job. It makes him look small, and it makes the process seem smarmy.
Appearances matter, and no matter how one dices this story it ends in the same way. No one comes out looking good.
I was right.