The governor's plans for oversight of federal stimulus funds are drawing some criticism. Governor Jim Doyle last week named Madison Gas and Electric Chairman, President and CEO Gary Wolter and UW Madison Associate Vice Chancellor Al Fish to head Wisconsin's new Office of Recovery and Reinvestment.
“One of the things that Gary and Al and their team will be very much charged with is making sure that the legislature is well aware of everything that's going on,” Doyle said at a Capitol press conference announcing the new office, which is charged with preparing the state to quickly move federal stimulus money into the state and create jobs
Despite the governor's assurances, state Republican party chair Mark Jefferson has some concerns about oversight. “You've got a situation here where just a couple people, unelected officials, are going to have tremendous influence on how we spend hundreds of millions of dollars. I think that's a problem for anyone concerned about accountability,” said Jefferson, adding that the Office of Recovery and Reinvestment could devolve into the “office of paybacks and pork.”
An effort this week by Republicans in the state Assembly to create a panel of lawmakers to review and approve projects funded by money from a federal stimulus package was sent to the Assembly Rules Committee, where its future is unknown.