Monday, March 06, 2006

Former Clerk Overhauled Assembly Work Rules

John Scocos, currently secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, was the Assembly's chief clerk when Jensen was speaker.

Scocos said when he took over as Assembly chief clerk, he was supported by Jensen in doing an overhaul of Assembly work rules. He said one of his recommendations was to close down the caucuses.

He said the policy manual hadn't been updated in 26 years, and contained contradictory information in job descriptions. He said there were no time sheets for employees, only time logs. He said time sheets were being used by 37,000 state employees at the time.

Scocos said he made 54 changes to the manual, including some accountability measures. Scocos said Jensen did not oppose any of his changes.

In his questioning, Morgan asked if there was confusion in the old employee manual whether caucus employees could or could not do campaign work. Scocos said there was some confusion due to the way the manual was written.

On cross, Blanchard tried to head off any argument by the defense that Jensen had proposed the reforms prior to the eruption of media coverage. Scocos said he began the manual revisions in June, after the media began looking into the operation of the caucuses.

Scocos said there was no discussion of the caucuses being eliminated until a Wisconsin State Journal series on the caucuses began in May.

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