MADISON (AP) – Cindy Archer, the longtime aide to Gov. Scott Walker who landed a new state job and a hefty raise, wasn’t a finalist for the job. In fact, she never even applied.
Even so, Archer was named the State Public Defender Board’s new chief information officer in September. She makes $113,459 per year, 31 percent more than her predecessor.
Board officials defended the hiring Thursday, telling the Wisconsin State Journal she was uniquely qualified for the position and was being compensated fairly.
Archer was one of Walker’s top aides when he served as Milwaukee County executive. She was part of an inner circle of county and gubernatorial campaign staff that regularly traded messages using private emails through a secret router set up in Walker’s office to evade Wisconsin’s open-records laws.
FBI agents raided Archer’s home in 2011 as part of a now-closed John Doe probe into illegal campaign work in Walker’s county office. The investigation led to six convictions. Neither Archer nor Walker was charged with any wrongdoing.
Archer followed Walker after he became governor, becoming deputy secretary of the Department of Administration, where she made $124,000. She resigned in 2011 and took a $25,000 pay cut to become a legislative liaison for the state Department of Children and Families. She moved from DCF to the public defender board’s office in September.
Seven candidates interviewed for the CIO job, but Archer wasn’t one of them. Nor was she one of the two finalists whose names were forwarded to State Public Defender Kelli Thompson and her deputy Michael Tobin, department spokesman Randy Kraft said.
Thompson and Tobin “were impressed with the qualifications of both (finalists),” Kraft said, but “the final decision recognized the importance of Cindy’s hands-on knowledge and experience with the agency’s aging technology.”
The board wasn’t involved in the decision to hire her but it kept apprised of developments, board chairman Danny Berkos said.
“She is highly qualified for the job and the pay range is reasonable for the complexities of managing our agency IT system,” he said.