FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2009
Contact: Gary Becker, Executive Director
(608)831-1662, e-mail exec_dir@localgovinstitute.org

INSTITUTE CONTRACTS WITH BAKER TILLY FOR RESEARCH

MADISON, WI – The Local Government Institute of Wisconsin (LGI) has contracted with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (Baker Tilly) to conduct research regarding opportunities and challenges to improving local government structure, organization, and efficiency in Wisconsin.  Baker Tilly is a public accounting and consulting firm with a strong reputation and relationship with local governments throughout Wisconsin. They recently underwent a name change from Virchow Krause.

The study is intended to build upon the work of the Sheehy Commission, the Kettl Commission and numerous other commissions and task forces organized over the past decades to make recommendations for streamlining local government in Wisconsin and encouraging greater regional cooperation.  The study will also coordinate with the Wisconsin Way initiative which is an on-going project to solicit public discussion of local government issues.

Christine Smith, who manages State and Local Government Consulting Services for Baker Tilly and is the project principal for this research project, noted “It will be important to build upon the previous work of many esteemed groups who have explored this issue and take it further to provide information useful in improving government structure, organization, and relationships.”

Baker Tilly’s research aims to address several areas of focus as requested by LGI, including identifying structural changes of local government and inter-governmental relationships to increase public service delivery efficiency and better align local jurisdiction interest with regional interests. 

William Mielke, President/CEO of Ruekert Mielke, and a Board member who is heading up this research initiative for LGI, adds “Baker Tilly will analyze characteristics, benefits, and barriers to adoption of changes and consider the impact of these changes on the fiscal health of local government.  The research will draw from previous research with the hopes of providing insight to municipalities to enhance efficiency and quality of service.”

Baker Tilly will be providing significant pro bono professional services in connection with this research project.  “Baker Tilly is honored to work with this prestigious group representing Wisconsin governments, and we look forward to assisting the LGI explore the issue of how government can most effectively meet service expectations in a cost-effective manner,” notes Christine Smith.  Besides Christine Smith, key research personnel include Michael Ley, former Dept. of Revenue Secretary and Dave Varana, project manager.  Work is underway and will be completed with a final report to be delivered no later than December 31, 2009.

The Local Government Institute of Wisconsin (LGI) was formed in October 2007 by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Counties Association, the Wisconsin Towns Association and the Alliance of Cities.  The purpose of the organization is to conduct research, foster collaboration, and educate the public and policymakers on methods for improving local government’s ability to serve the people.  

LGI Board Members:
Jerry Wehrle (President), Mayor, City of Lancaster
Jim Dwyer (Secretary), County Board Chair, Waukesha County
Tim Hanna, Mayor, City of Appleton
Terry McMahon, Supervisor, Town of Yorkville , Racine County
Dennis O'Loughlin, Supervisor, Dane County
James Tipple, Mayor, City of Wausau
William Mielke, President/CEO Ruekert Mielke, Waukesha
Darryl Mayfield, Bradley-Moesch Group, LLC, Mosinee
Jean Jacobson, Town Board Chair, Town of Norway, Racine County

Rick Stadelman, Executive Director, Wisconsin Towns Association
Dan Thompson, Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Ed Huck, Executive Director, Wisconsin Alliance of Cities
Mark O'Connell, Executive Director, Wisconsin Counties Association Choose Your Region
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