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Zipperer announcement ads wrinkle to Senate moves

By   /   July 18, 2012  /   No Comments

By Kirsten Adshead | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON – Moving Senate offices will be a hassle for those involved. The costs are minimal, however.

The Senate Chief Clerk’s office expected Wednesday to have a finalized  list of the senators who would be moving — and to where — after the recall elections. Democrats hold a 17-16 majority in the chamber.

Rich ZippererGov. Scott Walker added another wrinkle when he appointed Sen. Rich Zipperer, R-Pewaukee, as his new deputy chief of staff and senior counsel.

Zipperer will vacate his Senate seat, and his office.

“Someone else might want to take that office now,” said Meggan Foesch, who has been helping organize the move for the chief clerk’s office.

Foesch expects about 10 senators to switch offices.

One hundred and eight lawmakers switched offices after the November 2010 elections giving the GOP majorities in the Senate and Assembly.

Most of the current moves are because some offices are designated for a particular office, such as Senate president, regardless of who holds the title.  Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, for example, was chosen Tuesday to replace Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, in the that role.

Boxes must be packed, names on doors must be changed and phone lines must be moved so that lawmakers can keep their phone numbers.

The cost, though, of moving 10 or so offices is limited.

The Department of Administration charges between $40 and $42 an hour to change phone lines — but only if a new line is added, DOA spokesman Keefe Klug said Wednesday.

“There wouldn’t be any cost for them to switch offices if there’s a phone line already there, which is the case most of the time,” Klug said.

The post-election move typically sparks some grumbling, but Democrats in particular have been hit with criticism this time around because lawmakers aren’t scheduled to return to session until January.

With 16 Senate seats and the entire Assembly up for election in November, these latest office moves could be short-lived.

Democrats counter that, as members of the majority, they have more responsibilities, more staff and therefore need more space.

“What I think people tend to think is that the Legislature doesn’t work unless we’re sitting on the floor, and nothing could be further from the truth,” Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, said Tuesday. “The fact is that legislators are meeting with one another, meeting with stakeholders in a wide variety of arenas, talking about the future. There are staff people who are working on behalf of the majority party – the audit committee is a good example – and, you know, that’s sort of quietly being worked on all the time. So I expect you will see some activity here, you’ll probably see some hearings.”