Editorial: Doyle's missteps hurting Wisconsin
Last week was a rough one for Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle
First, Doyle was roasted in editorials around the state for pushing a no-bid contract to spend $47.5 million on two sets of high-speed trains. The deal only needed an OK from the Joint Finance Committee, which it got on a party-line vote.
Though legal under an exemption to bidding, the deal for the trains is rightfully being criticized. Doyle claims the Spanish company that makes the trains was the only company interested in Wisconsin.
But how can the taxpayers really know unless the high-speed trains, which still have some serious questions surrounding them, were put up for competitive bids?
Then on Friday, a top member of Doyle's legal team, Chandra Miller Fienen, abruptly resigned when it was pointed out that she is not licensed to practice law in Wisconsin.
Miller Fienen, the daughter of state Sen. Mark Miller, co-chairman of the powerful Join Finance Committee, is listed as a member of Doyle's Office of Legal Council. Though she does not represent the governor or the state in court, she still gives legal advice to Doyle.
Doyle's choice of an unlicensed lawyer so closely connected to a state lawmaker — Miller Fienen said she came back to Wisconsin to run her father's political campaign — to advise him is troubling.
The no-bid contract spending $47.5 million of taxpayer money on high-speed trains is much more troubling because the state should not be spending that kind of money without competitive bids.
Miller-Fienen made it easy for Doyle to put this blunder behind him by resigning last week. But the cost is confidence in the state's top executive.
We can only hope that the deal Doyle and the Joint Finance Committee made on high-speed trains won't end up costing taxpayers more than it should.