A top Republican in the state Senate says members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission should pick a new administrator, or else lawmakers will pick one for them.
The bipartisan commission voted 4-2 earlier this week to keep interim administrator Mike Haas in the position, despite the state Senate voting to reject his confirmation. In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the panel should find a replacement, calling the vote to retain Haas “unlawful.”
Members of the Elections Commission have argued that Haas can only be fired by the panel. Even though the Senate has denied his confirmation, commissioners contend he can keep the job until they vote to fire him. The dispute is expected to result in a legal battle.
“There are important responsibilities to be fulfilled for the spring elections to proceed,” Fitzgerald argued. “The 45-day window for the commission the select a new administrator has begun. If the commission fails to act, the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization must comply with the law and appoint a new administrator.”
Fitzgerald also praised the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, which voted Thursday to leave its administrator position open for the next 45 days after the Senate also rejected the confirmation of interim director Brian Bell.