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Former Wisconsin Corrections Secretary Fired

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad D. Schimel confirmed on April 15, 2016 that Ed Wall, the former state corrections secretary who responded to widespread prison violence by equipping prison employees with pepper spray and Tasers [see: PLN, May 2014, p.30], was fired by the state’s Department of Justice over correspondence he sent to the home of the governor’s chief of staff that encouraged the destruction of public records.

Wall, who had initially been demoted to an administrative position with the Wisconsin Department of Justice after allegations of abuse surfaced at the state’s youth prison, was fired because Schimel said he had lost confidence in Wall’s leadership abilities.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but I can’t have confidence in an employee, especially one in law enforcement, who encourages someone else in government to break the law,” Schimel stated.

Wall’s termination stemmed from a letter he sent to the home address of Governor Scott Walker’s chief of staff, Rich Zipperer, about a week after a demotion in his job responsibilities.

“I know that you didn’t want me sending this electronically or to the office because of the [open] records issue, so I elected instead to send it to your home in writing and would ask that you feel free to shred it once you’ve looked it over,” Wall wrote in his letter to Zipperer. “Nobody will know that I sent it and this is strictly between you and me. I understand the concern the administration has over creating records, Rich, but I can’t let that harm me or my family worse than we’ve already been harmed.”

Zipperer responded the next day on administration letterhead, questioning Wall’s motive for making the request. Following an investigation, Schimel said the Department of Justice sent a disciplinary letter to Wall alleging he had failed to follow agency rules, failed to exercise good judgment, engaged in insubordination and unauthorized use of confidential information, and encouraged Zipperer to evade and violate the public records law.

Wall’s attorney, Dan Bach, said in a three-page response that it was unclear exactly what rules were violated, and that the former corrections secretary was appealing his termination.


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