Cindy Archer helped interview finalists for IT job she later landed [The Wisconsin State Journal :: ]
(Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 11--A longtime aide to Gov. Scott Walker helped interview the two finalists for the IT manager job at the State Public Defender's office before landing the job herself.
It was during that interview process, and with no input from anyone outside the agency, that State Public Defender Kelli Thompson said she decided Cindy Archer, the agency's administrative services director since September, was the best person for the job.
"I hit the right person with Cindy," Thompson said in an interview Friday.
Thompson spoke with reporters as the agency released documents related to the hiring requested under the state's open records law. The State Journal first reported last week that Archer was hired as the agency's chief information officer, which came with an 11.7 percent pay bump to a salary 31 percent higher than the previous IT manager.
The documents included the original posting for the job, which advertised the position in the $91,872 to $109,620 range. They also included Archer's resume, which showed she had no prior direct IT management experience, and the resume of one of the finalists, who had extensive state government IT experience.
Archer will be paid $113,460, though her hiring letter, which was also released, states that her pay rate of $54.34 per hour included a 1 percent general wage adjustment and a $1.75 per hour market adjustment provided to other IT employees.
The built-in raises took effect June 29, which Thompson said is why the position description didn't include them.
The department provided a list of 27 IT managers in state government that were used to set Archer's salary prior to the market and general wage adjustments. Archer's salary would have been 11th highest on that list.
The documents show Archer sent an email expressing disappointment that only 15 people applied for the position, when the Department of Justice had 70 applicants for a similar position.
An interview panel comprising trial division deputy director Jennifer Bias, trial division director Catherine Dorl and retired IT manager Diane Kohn interviewed seven applicants and forwarded to Thompson two finalists -- AhChung Ho, a private sector IT professional, and Linda Johnson, the interim IT director at the UW State Hygiene Lab.
Thompson said Archer was present for both finalist interviews. She said she didn't hire Ho because he didn't have experience in state government. And though Johnson had more IT experience than Archer going back to 1989, Thompson liked that Archer had helped write the department's IT plan, had been involved in meetings on several IT-related projects and was familiar with the state's STAR project to consolidate IT systems.
"I said ... 'You have done such a good job, you are passionate about it, you understand it, you could hit the ground running and I want you at least to consider it.' And she ultimately took the job," Thompson said.
She noted the department will save money by not hiring a new administrative services director. The position will be moved, possibly into the IT department, which has five full-time staff, in addition to Archer.
According to her resume, Archer worked in state government from 1986 until 2003 when she became vice president for administrative services at Blackhawk Technical College. She was next Brown County director of administration.
Walker then hired her as Milwaukee County budget director before promoting her to administrative services director. After Walker became governor, Archer became the state's deputy secretary of administration and then took a pay cut to become a legislative liaison in the Department of Children and Families.
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