“Highly qualified.” That’s one way to put it.

SOMETIMES, THE BEST WAY to assess those quietly executed schemes in government is just to apply the smell test. 

The employment history for Cindy Archer doesn’t pass.

Readers may recall that Archer was a top aide to Gov. Scott Walker during his time as Milwaukee County Executive. Secret emails released from the first John Doe investigation revealed Archer was part of an inner circle routinely co-mingling county government affairs with Walker’s gubernatorial campaign high command. She and others frequently did so by using a secret email system set up in Walker’s office in order to evade Wisconsin open records laws.

ARCHER FOLLOWED WALKER to Madison as deputy secretary at the Department of Administration, the government’s key management agency. She became a liability in that high profile position when her home was raided by FBI agents and her name was linked to those cringe-worthy secret emails. She departed DOA, turning up next in an obscure role at the Department of Children and Families. Though others were charged and convicted in the first John Doe, Archer was not.

End of story? Not quite. Political scrutiny moved on to the second John Doe and Archer dropped from the public eye. But, it seems, she did not lack opportunities. The Wisconsin State Journal looked in on her again and reports Archer was named last September as the new chief information officer for the State Public Defender Board. She was given an annual salary of $113,459 — 31 percent more than her predecessor had been paid. By the way, she was not one of the seven candidates interviewed for the job. Neither was she one of two finalists identified in the hiring process. In fact, she didn’t even apply for the position.

OFFICIALS WITH THE agency defend the hire and the salary, saying Archer is “highly qualified.” Apparently.

Like we said, this doesn’t pass the smell test.

Read this editorial on the Beloit Daily News website here.