Nass Says UW Hire Was Political Favor

MacIver News Service [Madison, Wisc…] The ranking Republican member of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee is calling the recent hiring of a top Doyle aide by the University of Wisconsin System ‘innappropriate,’ ‘unethical,’ and ‘immoral.’

State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) today blasted the selection of Department of Administration Secretary Michael Morgan as the new Senior Vice President for Administration and Fiscal Affairs for the System. 

“It’s immoral and unethical to give somebody a job that cost taxpayers and students about $345,000 annually in salary and benefits without having them compete against other qualified candidates,” said Nass. “Frankly, giving away a public sector job in this manner with compensation amounting to 1/3 of a million dollars annually ought to be illegal.”

Nass is particularly disturbed that the University System president hired Morgan to be a senior administrator over the UW System’s fiscal affairs.

“President Reilly’s decision to hire Morgan, without a formal selection process, is about throwing a life-preserver to a Democrat using taxpayer and student funds,” Nass said. “Mr. Morgan is the second most responsible person behind Doyle for the disastrous management of state finances. He has red ink all over his hands for leaving the state with a $4 billion deficit and financial decisions that will devastate our state’s economy for many years to come.”

Tom Anderes resigned the position to accept an offer from the University of Arizona on April 30th.

A representative for the UW System said when the job became vacant the System wanted to move quickly to fill this critical position and that his hiring was not a political favor.

“It created a vacancy that we weren’t expecting that needed to be filled quickly by someone who could hit the ground running,” said David F. , Executive Director of Communications and External Relations for the UW System. “Michael Morgan did not come looking for a job from the university nor did anyone come to the university looking for a job on his behalf.”

Giroux said Morgan was recruited because of his experience and knowledge of both the UW System and state government.

“President Riley reached out to Michael Morgan personally to see if he’d be interested in this opportunity. He accepted,” said Giroux “We didn’t post the job and appoint a search committee. We didn’t spend tens of thousands of dollars for a national search. We didn’t revisit the salary. We kept the salary frozen at its current level.”

Nass says despite the fact the position officially became open in April, Reilly has known about this possible vacancy since late last year. The Republican lawmaker believes a formal search should have been conducted and that the decision to hire Morgan should be reversed.