The leader of the Government Accountability Board and some municipal election clerks spoke out on Tuesday against a Republican-backed bill designed to eliminate the agency. State lawmakers want the GAB, a nonpartisan board that now oversees elections and ethics in Wisconsin, split up into two separate commissions dealing with ethics and elections and made up of political appointees. Legislators were taking up a bill to do that on Wednesday. Under the proposal, six retired judges would be replaced with partisan appointees. GAB executive director Kevin Kennedy would also be gone.
“As I mentioned, all employees — with the exception of myself — transfer. All positions, with the exception of my position, transfer. So, we lose one full-time equivalent position as a result. The (new) commissions will be down one lawyer,” Kennedy said.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the GAB was praised by municipal clerks, the League of Women Voters and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Sun Prairie city clerk Diane Hermann-Brown worked with both the GAB Board and the agency it replaced. She said the GAB was an improvement over its predecessor, the State Elections Board.