(The Center Square) – A Dane County judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit from Attorney General Josh Kaul that sought to remove Frederick Prehn as Chairman of the State’s Natural Resources Board.
Prehn was appointed to the DNR Board by former Gov. Scott Walker. He has refused to step down during the Evers administration until his replacement is approved by the Wisconsin Senate.
“I encourage the Wisconsin Senate to efficiently and effectively fulfill its role to confirm my successor,” Prehn said in a statement Friday. “As Wisconsin’s law says, once the Wisconsin Senate has confirmed my successor, my term in office ends.”
Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn said appointed board members do not serve at the “pleasure” of the governor, and they cannot be automatically replaced.
Gov. Evers back in April nominated Sandy Naas, a teacher and environmental consultant from Ashland, to take over Prehn’s seat.
But the Wisconsin Senate has not held a confirmation vote for Naas. And there’s no word when a vote may be coming.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said Friday’s ruling is a reminder to the governor that he cannot rule the state by executive order.
“We are pleased that the Court reaffirmed longstanding Wisconsin law,” WILL Deputy Counsel Anthony LoCoco said. “The Governor has no authority to circumvent the confirmation process and must instead work with the Legislature to select a mutually agreeable replacement for Chairman Prehn.”
Wisconsin’s attorney general has said he will appeal the judge’s ruling.