Paul Jadin is back at the helm as president of the Madison Region Economic Partnership — at least, for now.
Jadin sat behind his desk at MadREP on Thursday for the first time in six weeks, ending a leave of absence triggered by his decision to speak out against Gov. Scott Walker before the Nov. 6 election.
Jadin had turned in his resignation prior to making his public comments, but MadREP’s board had refused to accept it, telling Jadin to take an unpaid leave instead.
On Wednesday, the board met in closed session and voted to ask Jadin to return.
Jadin said the board’s vote of confidence was a compliment, but he has not yet decided what he will do.
He said he had considered his resignation to be final, as of the end of December, allowing for a transition for acting president Michael Gay to take over as president in January.
After spending weeks working on house projects, with a winter vacation scheduled in a warm climate and potential options for the future to consider, Jadin said he expects to decide by mid-December after he meets with the board’s executive committee.
“I’m very excited about what MadREP has accomplished and where we’re going,” Jadin said. “Being here through the next year is definitely in play.”
Jadin submitted his resignation on Oct. 17 before he and two other former Walker administration Cabinet members issued an open letter criticizing the two-term Republican governor’s leadership and announcing their support for Democratic challenger Tony Evers.
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Jadin, former Corrections Secretary Ed Wall and former Financial Institutions Secretary Peter Bildsten said after working with Walker, “it became clear that his focus was not on meeting his obligations to the public but to advancing his own political career at a tremendous cost to taxpayers and families.”
Jadin was the first CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., serving for nearly two years before he left in late 2012 to lead Thrive, which later became MadREP.
Evers defeated Walker by nearly 30,000 votes in the November election.
“Hopefully, we drove some of that. I think we had an impact,” Jadin said. He said the sentiment in the open letter was “something that’s been with me for six years.”
Jadin said the response he has received to his public denunciation of Walker was “surprising. I’ve had a lot of people thanking me. But I’m also sure there are a lot of folks out there who see it the other way.”
Jadin said Evers has not offered him a job, and if he did, Jadin would turn it down. “I would not want anyone, especially the average voter, to think there was quid pro quo,” he said.
At MadREP, a new strategy is in the works and a fundraiser began in late summer. “This is such an important time,” Jadin said.
MadREP is the nonprofit economic development organization representing Dane, Columbia, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock and Sauk counties.