Records detail hiring of former Walker aide

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks with a reporter during the National Governor's Association Winter Meeting in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks with a reporter during the National Governor's Association Winter Meeting in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Newly released records show a longtime aide to Gov. Scott Walker helped interview the two finalists for the $113,000 job at the state public defender’s office she landed, two newspapers reported Friday.

Records related to the hiring of Cindy Archer as the public defender’s office’s information technology director were released at the request of the Wisconsin State Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Archer was one of Walker’s top aides when he served as Milwaukee County executive. After Walker became governor in 2011, Archer followed him as the state’s deputy secretary of administration. In August 2011 she took a pay cut to become a legislative liaison in the Department of Children and Families.

FBI agents raided Archer’s home in September 2011 as part of a now-closed John Doe probe into alleged illegal campaign work in Walker’s county office. Neither she nor Walker was charged with any wrongdoing.

Archer has been the public defender’s administrative services director since September. In her new IT position, which she began Monday, Archer is getting an 11.7 percent pay raise and a salary 31 percent higher than her predecessor.

During the interview process State Public Defender Kelli Thompson determined that Archer was the best person for the IT manager job, the State Journal reported.

Archer’s salary is $3,400 a year more than the top pay listed in an advertisement for the position, based on the newly released documents, the Journal Sentinel reported.

The department provided a list of 27 IT managers in state government that were used to set Archer’s salary prior to the market and general wage adjustments. Archer’s salary would have been 11th highest on that list.

The documents show Archer, who would have supervised the IT manager as administrative services director, sent an email expressing disappointment that only 15 people applied for the position, when the Department of Justice had 70 applicants for a similar position.

“As long as we have one great candidate – that is all that matters!” Thompson wrote back on May 14.

Thompson said in a Friday interview that Archer was present for interviews with two finalists – AhChung Ho, a private sector IT professional, and Linda Johnson, the interim IT director at the UW State Hygiene Lab.

Thompson said she didn’t hire Ho because he didn’t have experience in state government. And though Johnson had more IT experience than Archer going back to 1989, Thompson said she liked that Archer had experience on IT projects in state government and within the public defender’s office.

Thompson, the daughter of former Gov. Tommy Thompson, said she did not talk to Walker or anyone in his office about giving the job to Archer. Walker declined to comment this week on the hiring, saying that was a decision of the public defender’s office.

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