Letters to the governor

Letters to the governor


Click here to view the ACE letter to the Governor March 23, 2021


ACE Letter to Governor Evers on importance of filling the DPM Administrator position 2019 04 07 – click here


May 7, 2013

Honorable Scott Walker
Governor of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 7855
Madison, WI 53702

Dear Governor Walker:

The Association of Career Employees (ACE) has analyzed state employee compensation levels for many years with special attention to employees not represented by unions.  Since ACT 10 went into effect, that would now include most state employees.

The majority of state employees have not received an increase in compensation since 2009, when a 2% increase was given only to union-represented employees.  Since that time many factors, including furlough days and higher health insurance premiums and retirement contributions, have reduced compensation for all employees.

While the Discretionary Merit Compensation (DMC) program, which became effective January 2012, provides a pathway for compensation increases for a few, it has many limitations.  The program is not funded in the biennial budget, leaving agencies to find funding internally, mostly by leaving vacant positions unfilled.  Only a few agencies provide more than a handful of awards and some agencies and commissions do not participate.  Individual employees who perform at a high level year after year may receive only sporadic lump sum merit increases in order to make a little money go further.  There are not uniform criteria across agencies for providing awards—for instance, some agencies distribute only lump sum awards.  To be effective, this program needs to be formally funded and fairly administered.

If the state hopes to keep high performing employees and attract competent new employees, higher compensation is required.  ACE has long advocated for general wage adjustments that at a minimum, track the Consumer Price Index.  Wage increases should be base building rather than lump sum increases.   The DMC program as currently constituted is insufficient in providing compensation for state employees.


Sally Drew



November 10, 2010

Governor-Elect Scott Walker
The Risser Justice Center
17 W. Main St. Suite 310
Madison, WI 53703

Dear Governor-Elect Walker:

As Wisconsin faces a significant structural budget deficit, you have suggested that the benefits and salaries paid to state employees should be reduced to be more comparable to the benefits and salaries paid to private sector workers.

A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit Washington D.C. think tank, demonstrates that when salary and benefits are considered together, state government workers receive a compensation package 7.6% lower than comparable private sector employees. The study, entitled Debunking the Myth of the Over-Compensated Public Employee, controlled for factors such as education, experience, hours of work, gender, organizational size, and race.

As expected, the study found that retirement and health insurance benefits comprise a larger share of compensation for public employees than for private sector employees.  Wages and bonuses for private sector employees are higher than for government workers.

The public perception that state government workers are overcompensated may result from some under-appreciated factors.  While small employers outnumber large private firms, large firms with more than 500 employees employ nearly half of all workers.  Government pays high-school educated workers more than comparable private sector employees.  For college-educated labor, however, state and local employers pay on average 20% less than private employers in total compensation.

Wisconsin state employees, facing calls to contribute to their pensions and pay more for their health insurance, might want to emphasize that the focus should be on total compensation, not any one benefit.  The last 1% of the employee pension contribution was picked up by the state in 1983, when the state faced a serious deficit and made the contribution instead of granting any pay increase.  Because the state contribution was not subject to social security taxes, this was beneficial financially to the taxpayers as well as to the employees.

Any change should be negotiated with a comprehensive view of total compensation, which this study shows is somewhat lower than comparable private sector pay and benefits.

A copy of the EPI study is enclosed.


Bob Jordan
Executive Director



October 15, 2009

Governor Doyle
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI  53707

Dear Governor Doyle:

The Association of Career Employees (ACE) is writing to thank you for the provisions in the 2009-2011 budget that provided health insurance to the domestic partners and adult children (through age 26) of state employees.

ACE had advocated for both of these insurance improvements for several years.  In a biennium with many fiscal challenges, and with sacrifices required from state employees, these new benefits provide some fairness and acknowledgement of the contributions made by state employees.

Thank you.


Bob Jordan
Executive Director


August 27, 2009

Governor Doyle
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI  53707

Dear Governor Doyle:

The Association of Career Employees is an organization of career State of Wisconsin employees.  We are concerned about the integrity of the civil service, the efficient operations of state agencies, the pay and benefits of state employees, and the health of the WI Retirement System.

We are writing to urge you to thaw the freeze on hiring of state employees.  The workload on the remaining employees is draining, and the vacancies are affecting the ability of state agencies to carry out their mission.

Particularly in the instance of program revenue funded and federally funded positions, it is difficult to understand the value in keeping positions vacant.  ACE is very concerned about the vacancy levels at the State of Wisconsin Investment Board and Employee Trust Funds, which directly serve our members, and which are funded by the participants and not general purpose revenue.

ACE also believes that agencies headed by elected officials should have the discretion to hire staff for authorized positions.  These officials are accountable to the public, and should not be subject to DOA hiring restrictions for vacant positions.

Thank you for your consideration.


Robert Jordan
Executive Director