Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Treasurer's First Objective: Eliminating Himself

Newly elected government employee is the spending-cutting hero libertarians dream of.

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||| Wisconsin capitol/flickr

Virtually every government department works every day to justify its existence and to preserve or increase its budget. Not newly elected Wisconsin state treasurer Matt Adamczyk, though. The No. 1 item on his agenda? Eliminating his own job.

Adamczyk, who took office on January 5, ran on the promise to eliminate the very position for which he was running. In his short tenure, he's already had the positions of two treasury office employees terminated, determining they were unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer funds.

Adamczyk is correct in his budget trimming. Even The New York Times acknowledges his position is "virtually powerless," with most duties already having been transferred to other agencies, and this depiction from the Times profile reads like a spending-cutter's dream:

Eliminating his employees' jobs has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars, [Adamczyk] said. Then there is the smaller stuff: an unused printer sits ready to be returned. Laptop cases that belong to no one were stacked on a wooden table. He spent one day recently on the phone with Verizon trying to determine why his office had more active cellphone contracts than it did employees.

During a tour of his office, Mr. Adamczyk pointed out examples of how his predecessors, in his opinion, frittered away taxpayers' dollars.

Opening a large cardboard box, he pulled out tiny blue plastic piggy banks with the department's name printed on the side. "Do we need these?" he asked. "No, we don't."

Mr. Adamczyk held up a new iPhone, still sealed in plastic. "This was a 'floater' phone," he said. "No one ever used it. It cost $58 a month. You almost can't make this stuff up."

This seemingly real-life Ron Swanson's next target is Tia Nelson, leader of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, who earns $89,231 per year, according to public records.

Adamczyk won't be able to officially eliminate his position until 2017, when a constitutional amendment could first be passed. In the meantime, he has promised to eliminate 25 percent of his cost by vowing to voluntarily return a quarter of his $69,936 salary to the state.

There is a somewhat vicious cycle in which those who support an activist government are more likely to be drawn to government positions. As a result, state government employees, especially those in unions, skew heavily Democratic.

Government agencies could use more liberty-minded employees like Adamczyk working from the inside to protect taxpayers. The irony is that if Adamczyk continues his budget-trimming ways, he could very well justify keeping himself on staff.