DATCP: To close three regional offices

Contact: Gary Radloff (608) 224-5020

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced today the closing of three regional Consumer Protection offices in Wisconsin as part of restructuring the operations of the agency. The Department will continue to provide services to taxpayers across the state, and the services currently provided at three regional offices in Eau Claire, Green Bay, and Wauwatosa will be consolidated into the main office in Madison.

“During these tough economic times, it is necessary for the Bureau of Consumer Protection to streamline services and save money over the long-term, maximizing our resources to best serve our customers,” said Randy Romanski, Deputy Secretary DATCP. “The Bureau’s new structure will successfully meet its fiscal responsibilities and continue to address the most significant consumer protection problems of Wisconsin residents at the same time. The department’s goal has always been and will continue to be to provide high quality consumer protection services.”

Regional Consumer Protection offices, which handle consumer issues ranging from landlord-tenant disagreements to auto repair complaints, will close by early December, affecting 20 staff, most of whom will be offered positions in the Madison consumer protection office. Overall, the Bureau has to reduce its staff by 5.8 full time equivalent positions, a 15 percent decrease of general consumer protection staff. It must also reduce general purpose revenue spending by approximately $1 million during the current biennium.

The Bureau plans to make better use of modern technology to communicate with and provide information to consumers. Restructuring the Bureau will also provide for an increase in the number of staff dedicated to the Office of Privacy Protection which has seen a growing demand for services to businesses, law enforcement agencies, and victims of identity theft. Key consumer protection functions like the Consumer Hotline and the No Call List will remain staffed and available to assist consumers.