Agency Primer: Department of Administration

Agency Primer by IRG:

Wisconsin’s Department of Administration

Commonly referred to as the “Department of All”, the Department of Administration was created in 1959 to consolidate the administrative functions within the executive branch and give the Governor the ability to carry out his/her duties and responsibilities. Between 1959 and present day, DOA has taken on many of the responsibilities it still holds today. In 1991, the Department created the Division of Enterprise Technology (DET) which still exists today. The Division has an incredibly important role in administering the IT functions of all state government. Later in the same decade, 1997 Act 27 gave DOA authority to regulate gaming in Wisconsin, a function that remains with the Department today.

Under the Leadership of Governor Walker, the Department began an effort to start consolidating administrative functions across all state agencies within DOA. The goal was to take common functions like HR and IT, and create efficiencies by having agencies use DOA for those functions. The State Transforming Agency Resources (STAR) system initiative was an integral part of this reform. However, with 35,000 employees and the sheer size of the executive branch, this type of reform was and will continue to be difficult and time consuming. There is more work to be done in the years to come in order to realize the full potential of shared services.

Today, the Department is charged with the daily operations of state government; budget and finance, managing state assets, personnel management, procurement and purchasing, housing and energy assistance, and intergovernmental relations. DOA also advises the Building Commission and the Governor regarding state debt and bonding. Throughout its history, DOA has always been an extension of the Governor’s Office and the lever through which the Governor can steer and direct his administration.

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