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Elections Commission Personnel News

Posted in
Priority: 
Information Only
Date: 
November 2, 2017
To: 
Wisconsin County Clerks
To: 
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
To: 
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
To: 
Milwaukee County Election Commission
From: 
Michael Haas, Interim Administrator

I would like to tell you about several personnel changes at the Wisconsin Elections Commission that have occurred during the second half of 2017. 

First, Commissioner Steve King resigned in August due to his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic.  In September, Assembly Speaker Vos appointed Dean Knudson to fill the vacancy.  Commissioner Knudson served three terms in the Wisconsin Legislature until January 2017, and he also previously served as Mayor of Hudson.

Second, effective August 7, 2017, Richard Rydecki was promoted to the position of Elections Supervisor and is now supervising the Elections Administration team.  Richard has been with the agency since 2011 and has lead our accessibility initiatives as well as our voting equipment testing and auditing programs, among other responsibilities.

Third, WisVote Trainer Juanita Borton left the WEC on June 26, 2017 to accept a position with the State of Minnesota as a Program Manager.  On August 20, 2017, Patrick Brennan transferred to the vacant WisVote Trainer position.  Patrick started with the WEC in July 2016 as a WisVote Specialist.

Fourth, on July 9, 2017, Jodi Kitts returned to the WEC as a WisVote Specialist.  As you may recall, Jodi had worked as an SVRS/WisVote Specialist at the agency from January 2014 until February of 2017, and since that time had worked as an Equal Opportunity Specialist for the Department of Administration. 

Fifth, Sarah Statz joined the WEC staff as a WisVote Specialist in August.  Sarah previously worked in the Sauk County Clerk’s office, and she brings valuable experience in elections administration and working in the WisVote system, along with the perspective of a local election official. 

Sixth, Elections Specialist Jennifer Webb left the agency September 15, 2017 to accept a position as a Program and Policy Analyst at the Department of Administration.  Jennifer had worked at the agency since November 2014 and was an integral part of creating WisVote training materials and voting equipment programs, in addition to many other election administration tasks. 

Seventh, our Accountant, Gamze Ligler also accepted a position in another state agency, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and left the WEC as of last week.  Gamze had communicated with many local clerks to facilitate the reimbursement of costs for the recount of last year’s Presidential Election, in addition to her many other accounting responsibilities.

Eighth, we have hired Amy McGregor as an Office Operations Associate after she worked with us briefly as a temporary staff member.  Amy handles our front desk duties as well other administrative responsibilities.

Ninth, on Monday, November 13, 2017, we will add Michelle Hawley as another WisVote Trainer.  While new to the elections field, Michelle has extensive experience with developing training for both the federal court system and in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Tenth, Mike Nelson, a former GAB/WEC team member who retired in 2016, will be rejoining our team on November 6, 2017 as a Limited Term Employee.  That essentially means that Mike will be working with us up to half-time, but his previous WisVote experience will certainly be helpful. 

While we never like to lose talented and hardworking staff, we always appreciate the contributions they have made and wish them well in their new endeavors.  We are also excited to welcome new members to our team and our recent recruitment efforts have resulted in some excellent additions to the WEC staff as we continue to implement agency projects and prepare for the 2018 elections.  We are currently conducting recruitments to fill our Accountant position as well as two Elections Administration Specialist positions.  That will complete the hiring process for the agency positions authorized as part of the 2017 – 2019 state budget.

Finally, I have received some inquiries as to the status of, and process for the Legislature to confirm, my appointment as Administrator.  While the Commission appointed me to my position effective June 30, 2016, the Statutes require the State Senate to vote on whether to confirm my appointment for a term of four years.  As you know the state budget has consumed most of the Legislature’s time and attention in 2017. 

We expect that the Senate Committee on Elections and Utilities will hold a public hearing regarding my appointment prior to a vote by the full Senate.  If you wish to provide any written comments or testimony about confirming my appointment or the agency’s operations in general, feel free to contact your State Senator.  Alternatively, you may submit correspondence or testimony to the Office of Senator Devin LeMahieu, Chair of the Senate Elections and Utilities Committee.  Senator LeMahieu may be contacted at Sen.LeMahieu@legis.wisconsin.gov or at:

The Honorable Devin LeMahieu
Room 323 South
State Capitol
PO Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707-7882

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding these changes at 608-266-0136 or michael.haas@wi.gov.