Governor spares journalism center, approves delay in HR Design

June 30, 2013

by Greg Bump

Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2013-15 state budget bill today (June 30, 2013), putting into law a spending plan for state government for the next two years.

Interim Chancellor David Ward says he is pleased that the governor listened to many concerned voices and vetoed a provision that would have prohibited the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism from utilizing space on the UW–Madison campus. The language, inserted by the Joint Finance Committee during its deliberations, would also have barred UW employees from doing any work related to the WCIJ as part of their official duties.

“The governor’s veto of this provision shows that he recognizes the valuable work done through the association of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the professionals at the WCIJ,” Ward says. “The experience afforded to the students through this collaboration is invaluable, and the work produced by the center as a government watchdog is of significant importance to the public interest.

“The veto also shows that the governor realizes the chilling effect such a move would have on academic freedom, at this campus and others across the state. I applaud his use of the veto to stand strong for the right of educators and students to seek out collaborations to further educational and research opportunities.”

Ward says he was disappointed in the governor’s decision not to veto a provision that delays until July 1, 2015, implementation of the components of the HR Design personnel system that require statutory changes.

“Delaying these aspects of HR Design for two years hampers our ability to make nimble hiring and compensation decisions in the extremely competitive environment of higher education,” Ward said.

UW–Madison employees from across the campus took part in the development of the HR Design strategic plan, either through direct participation policy-writing teams or by providing feedback in forums or Web chats.

Ward says while the delay is regrettable, the university will continue to move forward with implementing the components of the new system that do not require statutory change, while continuing to plan for full implementation of the new system in 2015.