Gov. Tony Evers has hired Brad Pfaff as DOA’s director of Business and Rural Development with a slight pay cut compared to his old job as DATCP secretary.
In the new role, Pfaff will advocate for Wisconsin small businesses and rural communities, according to an announcement from DOA Secretary Joel Brennan.
The Senate last week rejected Pfaff’s nomination to be DATCP secretary amid complaints from Republicans that he had politicized the agency. The guv and others were sharply critical of the move, a first in at least the last 32 years.
“While our residents have lost an advocate for our rural heritage and consumers in need of protection at the cabinet level, I’m proud to bring Brad onto the team at DOA to ensure his expertise and Wisconsin values are utilized to grow our economy,” Brennan said.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who had a sharp exchange with Pfaff this summer and was critical of his leadership of DATCP, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the new role, Pfaff will make $120,910, slightly less than his salary of $130,000 while he was leading DATCP.
Following the Senate’s rejection of Pfaff, Evers elevated DATCP Deputy Secretary Randy Romanski to interim secretary of the agency. His salary wasn’t impacted by the move.
The DOA appointment resulted in some shuffling with administration staff. Jamie Kuhn, who is the guv’s outreach director, was moved into a position that is classified as a deputy director, though her job title and responsibilities haven’t changed. That allowed DOA to appoint Pfaff to a position classified as a director. Pfaff’s appointment doesn’t require Senate confirmation.
DOA said Pfaff’s position will include additional responsibilities compared to the former director of Business Development position during the Walker administration. That includes coordinating with agency staff across the administration to work on economic growth in all 72 counties.
Nancy Mistele served as director of Business Development under Walker with a final salary of $86,736, according to DOA.