Ventura picks U

by Stacy Jo

In his second major draw from University resources, Gov.-elect Jesse Ventura last week named Richard Pfutzenreuter co-chairman of the transition team committee for biennial budget recommendations.
Pfutzenreuter will continue his work as the University’s chief financial officer and associate vice president for budget and finance while working for the transition team. Pfutzenreuter will work with co-chairwoman Pam Wheelock to advise Ventura on formulating his biennial budget into a document and preparing it for presentation to the state Legislature.
As part of the transition team, Pfutzenreuter will report to interim chief of staff Steve Bosacker. A University transplant himself, Bosacker served as executive director and corporate secretary for the University’s Board of Regents before taking the position with Ventura.
After 12 years as a fiscal analyst in the House of Representatives, Pfutzenreuter is familiar with the political process. Wendy Wustenberg, transition head for government relations for the Ventura transition team and a University alumna, said this experience made the decision to hire Pfutzenreuter an easy one.
“In the world of fiscal analysts, there are none any better,” Wustenberg said.
Because the governor-elect must present his budget request to the Legislature by Feb. 16, Pfutzenreuter will divide his time between the state and the University for only a few months, which made accepting the position a feasible option, Pfutzenreuter said.
“I’ll still be 110 percent at both jobs,” he said.
Regent Michael O’Keefe said because the University’s budget is already put together, Pfutzenreuter’s heaviest work load for the year is over; the timing will allow him to divide his responsibilities without falling behind at the University.
“It’s a very good choice on the part of the governor-elect,” O’Keefe said. “He needs someone he can rely on.”
With loyalties to the University and the Ventura camp, Pfutzenreuter said he won’t keep his views about the state’s largest educational institution to himself.
“If I think (Ventura) has the wrong sense about the University, hell, I’m going to say something,” Pfutzenreuter said.
O’Keefe said the placement of a key University official within the Ventura team could be beneficial to the school. However, the most important effect of Pfutzenreuter’s appointment will be professional guidance from a nonpartisan source, which fits with Ventura’s fresh approach to government, O’Keefe said.