Walker appointee for Chief WEDC job is unqualified, base cronyism

Scott Walker announced a “redeployment” of Administration staff today. The movement of Jocelyn Webster from DOA Communications Director to the Governor’s Communications Director is no surprise. State Senator Rich Zipperer is qualified for his new post, and resigns from a safe district in Waukesha County, so no surprise there.  The appointment of Ryan Murray to Chief Operating Officer of Wisconsin Economic Development Commission (WEDC) is a big deal – and reeks of cronyism.

WEDC has an operating budget for the 2011-2013 biennium of almost $162 million. It is currently under scrutiny from many Democratic legislators; as WEDC was set up without many of the previous accountability measures which previously existed under the Department of Commerce. In addition, a Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) report was critical of previous programs using tax dollars to “create jobs” – citing numerous issues with accountability, reporting, and results. The LAB will conduct an audit of WEDC in 2013.

While Ryan Murray might be a “nice guy” (as mentioned by one Capitol source), he is absolutely unqualified to hold the COO position at WEDC. Murray has no experience managing any type of complex business or government model; nor has he ever guided any public/private partnership. Walker’s statement said the following:

“Evaluating the strengths and talents of administration staff will ensure we can constantly reform state government to improve services and operate efficiently.  The newly assembled team will help Wisconsin continue down the path of prosperity.”

This nomination says a great deal about Walker’s ability (or lack thereof) to “evaluate the strengths and talents” of his staff. Here are Murray’s qualifications:

Office of Governor Scott Walker, Deputy Chief of Staff 

October 2011 – Present (10 months)

Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs

Office of Governor Scott Walker 

January 2011 – October 2011 (10 months)

Deputy Transition Director

Office of Governor-Elect Scott Walker 

November 2010 – January 2011 (3 months)

Policy Director

Friends of Scott Walker

Nonprofit; 1-10 employees; Government Relations industry

June 2010 – November 2010 (6 months)

Campaign Manager

Terrence Wall for U.S. Senate

Nonprofit; 1-10 employees; Political Organization industry

November 2009 – June 2010 (8 months)

Chief of Staff

Office of State Senator Randy Hopper 

January 2009 – November 2009 (11 months)

Communications Director

Office of Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald

January 2007 – January 2009 (2 years 1 month)

Campaign Manager

Friends of Randy Hopper 

September 2008 – November 2008 (3 months)

Legislative Aide

Office of State Senator Cathy Stepp 

October 2005 – January 2007 (1 year 4 months)

Legislative Aide

Office of State Representative Dan Vrakas

January 2005 – October 2005 (10 months)

Wisconsin Field Representative

Bush-Cheney ’04

Nonprofit; 201-500 employees; Political Organization industry

February 2004 – November 2004 (10 months)


University of Wisconsin-Superior

Political Science, History

2002 – 2004

Macalester College

Political Science, History

2000 – 2002

Murray is not an expert in public/private corporate partnerships. He has zero experience in fiscal or economic policy. He is a partisan GOP political operative. This $100,000+ a year job is political payment for loyalty, plain and simple. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca raises similar concern:

“One would think that for a six-figure salary, the governor could have given Wisconsin
taxpayers an economic development leader or at least someone with private-sector, job creation experience.”

The question is – who will really be running WEDC, because it won’t be Murray. With all due respect, he will be a puppet for those he has served since graduating from UW-Superior in 2004. His 8 years as a party water-carrier will not have prepared him for the post he is about to assume.

There have been many political appointments that smell of cronyism – this one reeks of it.


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3 thoughts on “Walker appointee for Chief WEDC job is unqualified, base cronyism

  1. Is it just me, or has Walker and the rest of the GOP in Wisconsin thrown more disdain for the law in our faces than we’ve seen in this state for almost 100 years? I’m amazed at not only how brazen these bastards are, but how little the MSM reports on this sort of stuff, and how few people are made aware.

    Thanks for being one of those who helps to educate those of us without our heads in the sand.

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