“ Keith Gilkes, the third top Walker aide to announce their resignations in recent months, said he’ll leave his $112,000 per year chief of staff job October 8”, reports the Associated Press/Madison.com.
Gilkes, who led Walker’s 2010 campaign, plans to return to his one-man political consulting business.
Per the Journal Sentinel: “With Gov. Scott Walker saying he ‘absolutely’ takes a recall effort against him seriously, his chief of staff announced Friday he is leaving the governor’s office to work on his campaign”.
Reuters reports: Gilkes helped steer a controversial push to curb collective bargaining rights of public sector workers. The fight over that anti-union measure thrust Wisconsin into the national spotlight, igniting massive pro-union protests and political fights that led to a record nine recall elections this summer.
“ Keith did an outstanding job helping to craft and implement our ambitious pro-jobs agenda,” said Walker addressing the departure. “ I would like to thank him for his dedication to public service, and acknowledge the tremendous amount of time and energy he spent working to help improve state government.”
So, Walker is full of praise for Gilkes' job performance and thanks him.
But to gush "Outstanding job"? "Dedication to public service"? " Helping improve state government"? Really?
Let's not overlook some items:
What about Gov. Walker being duped by a prank caller? Gilkes allowed a phone call from a blogger impersonating billionaire David Koch to be put through to Walker. Who can forget that disturbing phone conversation and the tremendous amount of local and national attention that phone call received? It sure generated a lot of negative publicity and embarrassment for Gov. Walker.
Remember the Brian Deschane episode? The April 2011 Journal Sentinel conveys that 27 year old “Brian Deschane had no college degree, very little management experience and 2 drunken-driving convictions yet managed to land a $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Walker’s administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state." The newspaper points out “ His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year’s governor’s race. “ Total donations: $121, 652. It was Gilkes who’d recommended Brian Deschane for the state agency job.
The March 20, 2011 Journal Sentinel informed us that Valerie Cass, the girlfriend of a (married) senator had help getting a job. “ Even though the state is supposedly broke, top officials in Gov. Scott Walker’s team were able to scrape together enough money to give a state job to the woman identified as Sen. Randy Hopper’s girlfriend. Anything for a political ally." It seems Cass, a former Republican legislative staffer, had been hired as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing in February (a post considered temporary) at $20.35 per hour. Who had recommended her for the post? Keith Gilkes.
Over a hundred comments were posted to a Wisconsin State Journal post about Gilkes’ resignation, including a rather intriguing and thought-provoking one that states:
OK, there are a few things that Republicans are going to need to clear up for me.
1. You say that teachers compensation packages are too big, but it’s OK to pay Gov. Walker’s Chief of Staff $112,000 a year?
2. If the “people have spoken” and Wisconsinites support the Governor in all his actions, why then must the Governor’s Chief of Staff leave his position to accept a job running the Governor’s recall election campaign?
3. If “the people have spoken”, and Walker is their choice of leader, then why worry about a recall election?
4. If Republicans believe the last recall elections signified the conservative leanings of Wisconsinites, why worry about the Governor’s recall election? Why not just keep doing the “ will of the people” ?
5. Why are the Governor’s polling numbers falling if he’s the chosen one to lead us out of the desert?
I spent the last 9 months listening to Republicans say they won, the Democrats lost, and the losers should just live with it. Governor Walker won the last election by just 123,000 votes, yet he and his followers have been acting like they have a sweeping mandate to remake Wisconsin in their image. I wonder If they’ll feel the same if Democrats win the recall election by 123,000 votes? Will “the people have spoken?”