About ACE

Who We Are

The Association of Career Employees (ACE) has been a voice for Wisconsin’s civil service employees for more than 40 years.

Our purpose is to identify common concerns of state civil service employees, represent state employee and retiree interests, and protect what has been, and can again be, a nationally respected civil service system.

We believe that a strong civil service with a qualified, fairly treated and adequately compensated workforce is necessary for good government.

ACE is a professional membership organization, not a union.  We are unique in that we represent employees in executive, confidential, and supervisory classifications as well as employees who are not managers or supervisors.  Membership is open to any current or former state employee who shares our goals and vision.

Our membership list is confidential.

What We Do

  • Work to restore and maintain the elements of a sound civil service system:  merit-based recruitment and hiring practices; independence from political, moneyed and other undue influence; and protection against unfair discipline and termination.
  • Work to preserve civil service positions and prevent outsourcing of duties previously performed by state employees.
  • Advocate for fair and adequate compensation and to protect health insurance, retirement, and other employee benefits.
  • Advocate to preserve the fiscal and administrative integrity of the Wisconsin Retirement System.
  • Research, develop positions, and distribute information about issues of interest to state employees and retirees.
  • Communicate on the above issues with the Governor, the Division of Personnel Management, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations, and other appropriate government officials and agencies.
  • Network with other active and informed state employee and retiree groups and individuals.

ACE History and Accomplishments

ACE was first created as the Association of Career Executives in the mid-1970s to provide an organized voice for long-term Wisconsin state government employees in supervisory and management positions, which were not represented by unions.  The name was changed in the early 1980s to reflect the broader range of concerns the organization had come to address.  Its role has become more significant as subsequent legislation eroded Wisconsin’s Civil Service standards and protections and restricted the activities of government employee unions.

Recent Accomplishments

  • ACE made public records requests to obtain information on employee separations, terminations due to discipline, number of applications per job opening, critical shortages in certain job classifications, number of open positions, and use of overtime.  Data was compiled and published in ACE newsletters.  This effort will continue.
  • ACE made public records requests to obtain information on work rules application following the consolidation of human resources personnel into DOA and during COVID when many employees worked remotely. Our observations were published in the ACE newsletter. 
  • ACE requested information from DOA on work being done to ensure adequate ongoing air ventilation in public buildings to protect public employees; the response was published in our newsletter.
  • ACE made recommendations to ETF to fill critical appointments to retirement boards to assure representation by state employees and the public.  The recommendations were accepted, and appointments made.
  • ACE made comments to DOA concerning the Vision 2030 document and its impact in physical facilities for state employment.
  • ACE regularly contacted the Division of Personnel Management to advocate for state employee benefits and wage increases in the compensation plan. We consistently testified before the Joint Committee on Employment Relations.

Earlier Major Accomplishments

  • ACE worked with The Coalition to Save Civil Service to provide education information about civil service and to organize events annually to celebrate civil service.
  • ACE participated in the process of selecting a vendor for Wisconsin’s new Medicare Advantage plan option for retired state employees in 2018.  We notified members of and provided information about the new service through the ACE Newsletter.
  • ACE testified before the Group Insurance Board and wrote to the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee expressing concerns about proposals to make Wisconsin’s state employee health insurance a self-insured program. JFC rejected the self-insurance proposal in 2018.
  • ACE reviewed the new administrative rules related to civil service created in 2018 after the Walker administration initiated and the legislature passed civil service “reform” in 2016 through Act 150, which impacted portions of the state civil laws for classified employees, including the hiring process, performance reviews, discipline and grievance procedures, and layoff and reinstatement procedures. We analyzed changes and published the findings in a newsletter.
  • ACE was responsible for the Joint Committee on Employment Relations routinely providing parity compensation adjustments to managers and supervisors following union contract ratification. We worked with the Office of Employment Relations and testified before the Joint Committee on Employment Relations annually and this eventually became routine.
  • ACE filed lawsuits against the Governor’s Office and the Personnel Commission under Tommy Thompson’s administration to stop inappropriate use of project positions and received a stipulation, judgment, and order from the court on July 29, 1996.
  • ACE served on the Governor’s Civil Service Committee in 1996.
  • ACE initiated efforts to create a deferred compensation program and advocated for its passage in 1981. 
  • ACE advocated for a half-day floating holiday to replace Good Friday after a federal court decision ruling that the holiday was illegal.
  • ACE has intervened on behalf of high-profile civil service cases to help make a difference.
  • ACE monitored merit-based compensation programs by requesting public records information to assure that all levels of eligible employees are treated fairly.