Governor Jim Doyle has tapped a leader from the private sector to head Wisconsin's new Office of Recovery and Reinvestment .
"This project is critical to the state," said Madison Gas and Electric Chairman, President and CEO Gary Wolter during a press conference at the Capitol on Friday. "This is an all hands on deck effort. We will be out there not only getting our money and figuring out what to do with an prioritizing it, but we're going to be going head-to-head with 49 other states."
Doyle said it's very important to have private sector leadership, as the state determines how to best allocate federal stimulus money. "We are going to have to move at extraordinary speed, and we need to have someone who can come in and say 'you know, maybe we ought to be doing this differently to get it done."
Doyle said he's not concerned about any impact Wolter's private sector ties may have, if and when stimulus money is directed to his company or his industry. "If there's any project or decision that has to be made that in any way affects his company, he'll have to recuse himself," said Doyle, adding that he, Department of Administration Secretary Michael Morgan and Department of Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi will be "the ultimate decision makers."
Also joining the new state office, which Doyle created by an executive order, is UW Madison Associate Vice Chancellor Al Fish. Doyle said Fish has "great long term knowledge of how state government operates . . . what needs to get done and how to do it.We are really looking for the right balance here." Fish said the new office will be staffed by fifteen people from the state departments of Administration and Transportation. "We're taking the best people out of state government to figure out just what we need to do," said Wolter.
Wolter, said Doyle "knows what infrastructure is about," and has plenty experience in energy. "It is clear that a major portion of this (federal stimulus) proposal is going to involve clean energy and the president's vision towards moving to a clean energy future. Gary knows that world very well."