A top Republican in the state Senate wants to prevent county executives from serving in the Legislature. The bill being circulated by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) would prohibit someone from holding a legislative office at the same time as they are a county executive.
In a co-sponsorship memo, the Juneau Republican says it’s needed to prevent elected officials from double-dipping by drawing two taxpayer-funded salaries at the same time. “Given that the average annual salary of County Executives in Wisconsin exceeds $100,000, we are circulating the attached legislation to ensure that our state taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for any elected official drawing on multiple public salaries. This proposal is a long overdue taxpayer-protection, as Wisconsin currently has some of the most lenient double dipping regulations in the country.”
Fitzgerald’s proposal comes as Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a Democrat, plans to run for an open seat in the senate next fall. Democratic state Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) is also running for Milwaukee County executive this spring.
Several state lawmakers have run for county executive offices in the past, although most have given up their legislative seat shortly after winning those races. Former state Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer, a Democrat who later switched to an Independent, served in both the legislature and as the Manitowoc County executive for nearly six years, between 2006 and 2012.