Members of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents were uneasy about the hiring of a top ally to Gov. Scott Walker for a high ranking communications job, emails obtained by the Associated Press show.

According the the Associated Press, system officials expressed concern in email exchanges about possible political influences on the appointment James Villa, a former chief of staff for Gov. Scott Walker when he served as Milwaukee County executive.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers referenced “scary” information regarding the appointment in an email to fellow Regent John Drew.

“I still remain very skeptical,” Evers, who is also a UW System regent, said in an email.

Drew responded, saying he also had concerns about the appointment.

Vicki Keegan, another system official who sat in on interviews with Villa, emailed UW-Colleges and UW-Extension Interim Chancellor Aaron Brower calling Villa an “unacceptable pick” for the job.

“I have other thoughts on this but prefer not to put it in an email,” Keegan said in an email to Brower dated March 21.

The University of Wisconsin System hired Villa as the vice president of university relations last month, a job with annual salary of $178,000. He assumed his duties of directing internal and external university communications Monday.

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