Andy Gronik: Save the Office of the Treasurer in April 3 vote

The following Op-Ed appeared in the Captimes on March 29, 2018

Our founders believed in the balance of power. Gov. Scott Walker — not so much. He’s already eliminated the Government Accountability Board which was intended to — you guessed it — keep government accountable. Now, he wants to eliminate the constitutionally created Office of the Treasurer to consolidate power to himself and, in essence, present himself with the keys to the state’s cookie jar. Gov. Walker wants to consolidate more power to the executive branch of government by having more control over the money and state-owned property, too.

I’m running for governor and would never ask taxpayers to grant me this same power. Oversight keeps the governor in check and makes it harder for your elected officials to abuse the system. And, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

The current state treasurer, Matt Adamczyk, ran for the Office of the State Treasurer on a platform of getting rid of the Office of the Treasurer. Let that sink in and you’ll see just how broken our broken system of government really is. So rather than demonstrating leadership and advancing credible practices to audit the executive and legislative branches to ensure taxpayer’s money is being used responsibly, Adamczyk has made it his mission to get rid of the state’s fiscal watchdog. Conversely, I want to keep Wisconsin taxpayer money safe from corruption and abuse and look forward to working with a state treasurer who has unilateral authority to look into the state’s finances.

I come from the business world, where we recognize the importance of separating the duties of the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer. The business world honors the unique skills that an executive officer and financial officer both bring to the organization and make a point of building on these strengths. We need to do the same in Wisconsin because the treasurer is the “financial” commissioner for the Board of Public Lands Commission (BCPL) that manages over $1 billion in trust fund assets, 77,000 acres of School Trust Lands, and the State Trust Fund Loan Program. These funds are used to:

● Improve our public schools, libraries, our UW System, local community infrastructure like sewers, and our cherished parks.

● Invest in local communities and economic development.

● Protect our public lands and local parks from being sold to the highest bidder.

OK, now this makes sense. Gov. Walker wants to control more of the money that goes to our public schools and universities, eliminate all local control over economic development and sell more state land to his donors, as was recently the case at Kohler-Andrae State Park.

This must stop and when I’m governor it will. The days of Gov. Walker advocating on behalf of a chosen few instead of for all of the people of our state are over. Let’s make certain that this fiscal watchdog stays on guard in Madison by voting “NO” and defeating the amendment at the ballet box on April 3. And, when I’m governor, I’ll give the Office of the Treasurer more teeth, not less, to keep taxpayer money safe from corruption and abuse. I’m looking forward to being transparent and accountable to the people of Wisconsin.

Andy Gronik is a Milwaukee-area businessman and a candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

 

Read the full Op-Ed here