Appointment of the DNR Secretary could be returned to a citizen board, under the terms of legislation approved by the state Senate on Tuesday. Governor Tommy Thompson made the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources a cabinet post appointed by the governor. The bill's author, Senator Bob Wirch (D-Pleasent Prairie), called that "a failed experiment," which has failed to improve the public's perception of the agency's accountability.
Appointment of the DNR Secretary would return to the Natural Resources Board in 2011. Senator Mike Ellis questioned that timing. "Maybe you don't want to take this power away from this governor," suggested Ellis, "but you want to take it away from the next governor." Senator Neal Kedzie offered an amendment to make the change happen immediately, but that, and a second GOP amendment limiting the term of the DNR Secretary to four years, were both turned back by the Democratic majority in the Senate.
The bill , which Governor Jim Doyle says he supports, must still pass the Assembly.