August 23, 2014

Lawmaker slams treasurer for reneging on promise

A state lawmaker accuses the Wisconsin treasurer of reneging on a promise to abolish his office.

Neenah Republican Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) is questioning the state treasurer’s request to convert four temporary workers into permanent employees in that office. Those positions were due to sunset in June of next year.

Representative Kaufert says that move is a “bait and switch;” it goes against Schuller’s campaign promise to shut down the office. “The person who ran for it wants to get rid of the office, but now I see a request to (Joint Finance Committee) to actually, to really double the staff by making them permanent.”

State Treasurer Kurt Schuller says he is not creating new jobs nor expanding the office; he inherited the employees when he took over. Schuller says he simply wants the legislature’s budget writing committee to change the temporary status to permanent, rather than add additional staff to the Unclaimed Property Division. “We can’t possibly return over $30 million back to the people of Wisconsin without them; they’re vital to the operation of this office regardless of where the duties finally end up. When I campaigned to eliminate the (Office of the Treasurer), it’s not that I wanted to do away with the Unclaimed Property Division. That’s a great service to the people of Wisconsin.”

Schuller says he kept his promise by offering a constitutional amendment to abolish the treasurer’s office, but the legislature never acted on the measure. He calls Kaufert’s argument a “tempest in the teapot.”

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report