Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Jeff Wood’s new bartender


State Representative Jeff Wood (censured) (I-Bloomer) is adding a new staff member.

State Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan’s spokesperson Rebekah Sweeney said Wood hired Kathryn Sweet to a part-time position. Sweeney said the hire was within Wood’s authority and brings his staff size to 1.5 positions.

“It’s not a good use of taxpayer money,” said Executive Director Jay Heck of the good government group Common Cause.

“There’s less work, not more, when the legislature adjourns.”

Legislative adjournment is expected this week.

Wood became the first state lawmaker in nearly seventy years to be publicly censured Wednesday. Wood has said he will not run for reelection. His term expires in January.

Wood aide Jessica Spotts-Grabel told WKOW27 News hiring an additional staff member had been in process for some time.

Spotts-Grabel said Sweet’s hire allows for coverage of Wood’s Madison state office when Spotts-Grabel is on vacation or otherwise absent.

“Constituents deserve someone to answer the phone.”

Legislative records show fourteen members of the ninety-nine member assembly have only one staff member.

Sweeney said she is only aware of one other assembly member hiring a new staff person this month.

Frequent Wood critic, Rep. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) said a declining workload and Wood’s lame duck status are consistent with just a one-person staff.

“The full time staffer that he had here and the work that will be out there, I think is manageable.”

Nass also alleged assembly democratic leaders may have asked the Chippewa Falls independent to hire Sweet. Prior to her hire by Wood, Sweet worked for the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee, the political arm of assembly leadership. Sweet left her ADCC position March 30. (Ht: Sykes)

It’s important to have someone there because, as we all know, Wood is allowed only one phone call.

But seriously, the legislature’s work is done. There’s a state senator for the area that can handle any constituent issues. When Spotts-Grabel goes on vacation, just forward the calls to State Representative Mary Hubler’s office.

Now why would Wood need someone from the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee to work in his office? John Eyster, an adjunct professor of Political Science at UW-Waukesha, wonders why, too.

Is it possible that Jeff Wood, who has been a “loose canon” in our WI State Assembly, will NOW declare candidacy and seek re-election in November 2010? Is there any LEGAL barrier to his seeking re-election? Yes, I KNOW he made a “promise.” So, what?! Is there any indication that Jeff Wood is a person of his word?! Review his biography and consider. What do YOU think?

The rationale of Rep. Wood’s office, “Constituents deserve someone to answer the phone,” leaves me asking, “What about the toll-free ‘Legislative Hotline’ which my tax $$ pay for too? Wouldn’t that cover for the short-term?”

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