MADISON— Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) Secretary Peter Barca yesterday welcomed eight former Secretaries of Revenue, representing seven different administrations, to the department’s headquarters in Madison. The summit of former DOR Secretaries was held as part of a broader series of internal department events to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the formation of the department’s Income, Sales and Excise Tax Division as well as the 50th anniversary of the formation of its Audit and Compliance Bureaus.
The secretaries had varied professional backgrounds prior to serving the Department of Revenue and included state legislators, a Madison Alderman, a U.S. Army veteran, a Wisconsin Badger and Chicago Bears football player, math teacher, tax attorney, member of Congress, U.S. State Department Senior Advisor, real estate developer and Wisconsin State Budget Director. Former DOR Secretary Rick Chandler, notably, held the position twice, non-consecutively, under two separate governors.
They discussed the past, present, and future of the department and shared their experiences and challenges, touching on key accomplishments during their respective tenures. These included the addition of personal computers for staff, the launch of the department’s website, the implementation of electronic filing, the addition of the Wisconsin Lottery to the department, combined reporting, and the creation of the Division of Research and Analysis, now known as the Research and Policy Division.
Much of the conversation revolved around the increasing importance of technology and its role in increasing efficiency and providing better customer service over the past 50 years. All secretaries commended the staff who worked with them for their professionalism and desire to serve the residents of Wisconsin.
When asked for their thoughts on the future of the department, they agreed it looks bright, stressing the need to remain focused on utilizing technology and data to better protect and serve customers. They also noted that continuing the tradition of investing in staff development and training is critical to continued success.
Secretary Peter Barca Governor Tony Evers 2019 – present
Secretary Rick Chandler Governor Scott Walker 2011 – 2019
Secretary Roger Ervin Governor Jim Doyle 2007 – 2010
Secretary Michael Morgan Governor Jim Doyle 2003 – 2006
Secretary Rick Chandler Governor Scott McCallum 2001 – 2003
Secretary Cate Zeuske Governor Tommy Thompson 1996 – 2001
Secretary Mark Bugher Governor Tommy Thompson 1988 – 1996
Secretary Karen Case Governor Tommy Thompson 1987 – 1988
Secretary Mike Ley Governor Tony Earl 1983 – 1987
Secretary Dennis Conta Governor Martin Schreiber 1977 – 1979
Former Department of Revenue Secretaries from left to right: Roger Ervin, Mark Bugher, Karen Case, current Secretary Peter Barca, Cate Zueske (virtually attended), Mike Ley, Dennis Conta, Rick Chandler, Michael Morgan