Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

End in sight for treasurer office

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Waukesha Freeman 7/31/14 Page A5 Opinion

End in sight for treasurer office

Adamczyk will continue push to end vestigial position

 

I had to laugh when I saw the announcement by Matt Adamczyk, a Republican candidate for state treasurer, that he received the top grade from the National Rifle Association. Does this mean Adamczyk buys cheaper bullets?

Adamczyk was recently a guest of state Rep. Adam Neylon at a Neylon fundraiser. Neylon, who is running unopposed for re-election, decided to invite some Republicans that he is supporting in the Aug. 12 primary. The other two candidates were Eric Severson, candidate for sheriff, and Julian Bradley, who is running for secretary of state.

Both Adamczyk and Neylon told the audience of Adamczyk’s penchant for ferreting out wasteful state spending. And it’s true.

Among the wasteful spending items recently found by Adamczyk was an employee of the Department of Public Instruction who spent a weekend at Disney World courtesy of the taxpayers. Adamczyk also discovered the Department of Public Instruction spent $195,000 on meals since Tony Evers was elected in 2008, according to the Wisconsin Reporter.

Adamczyk has been relentless in exposing waste in the state treasurer’s office, from the specially printed coasters to the state treasurer’s cellphone use.

But Adamczyk’s abhorrence for government waste has a unique target: his own job if he is elected. Like the incumbent Kurt Schuller, Adamczyk is promising to work with the Legislature to eliminate the job of state treasurer.

Schuller did publicly support getting rid of the job that currently pays $68,500. Behind the scenes, some in Madison have told me they were skeptical of Schuller’s effort he put into lobbying the Legislature. At the end of his term, Schuller endorsed Scott Feldt, a state treasurer’s department employee, who was committed to keeping the office.

Feldt dropped out of the race and was quickly replaced by conservative activist and attorney Randy Melchert. Melchert also supports keeping the state treasurer’s position and lobbying the Legislature to actually restore the office’s responsibilities.

There is no doubt Melchert is a conservative and that he truly believes keeping the state treasurer would be better for the taxpayers. He, too, sees the job as a spending watchdog in Madison.

But Melchert is bucking up against the longterm trend for the office. Successive legislatures have steadily removed different responsibilities from the job. The treasurer’s office even lost control of the unclaimed property program. The only responsibility left is the half-hour monthly meeting of a school library trust fund.

The only thing left to do is amend the state Constitution to get rid of the office. This will require a constitutional amendment to pass both houses of the Legislature in two separate sessions and then the voters to pass a referendum.

In the last legislative session, the state Assembly passed the amendment with 10 Democrats joining the Republicans. Unfortunately the state Senate failed to act so the process has to start over.

Adamczyk, a former legislative aide, knows how the Legislature works and has received the endorsement from many of the Republican members. He would be a good candidate to actually follow through to get the constitutional amendment passed.

Voters already indicated a preference for eliminating the state treasurer position when they elected Schuller four years ago. Republicans can follow through on the promise by nominating Adamczyk on Aug. 12, and then helping him get elected in November.

*** In the 97th Assembly race, each of the candidates signed a clean campaign pledge. The candidates promised, among other things, not to personally attack each other. Instead the candidates are supposed to stick to the opponents’ records in office. Not only are the candidates supposed to behave, but so are the campaigns’ supporters.

A reader forwarded me an email from former Town of Waukesha Supervisor Joe Banske which included the links to two anonymous YouTube videos attacking Alderman Aaron Perry and Brandon Rosner. The name on the YouTube account is “TrovatoBanske AllenPerryRosnerCummings.”

I made two attempts to get an explanation from Banske on the source of the YouTube videos he was circulating. Each time I received no response.

Yes, the Town of Waukesha can kick Banske out of political office, but Banske can’t seem to quit the nasty politics of the town.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.) 

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