July 22, 2014

WEDC makes changes to address loan issues

Officials at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation say they are moving quickly to fix problems with systems that track loan repayments.

The agency is under scrutiny after it was discovered staff lost track of more than $8 million in past-due loan payments. WEDC Chief Operating Officer Ryan Murray says they are working to get those accounts caught up. That includes working with businesses to work out payment plans or renegotiate new terms, while some of the loans are being written off as uncollectable.

Murray says the problem occurred because the agency’s current systems are insufficient to track the information. Many of the loans were issued under the old Department of Commerce, and tracking systems were not carried over when the agency was folded in to the new WEDC early last year.

Murray says they are implementing plans to prevent similar issues in the future, which includes creating a centralized process to monitor loans controlled by the agency. The private-public agency’s Chief Financial Officer also resigned this week.

Governor Scott Walker has decided not to have Murray take over as temporary head of WEDC while the search for a new CEO is underway. Walker on Friday praised Murray for uncovering issues within the agency, and stressed that he wants him to continue focusing on those problems right now. Democrats had questioned whether Murray, a long time legislative aide, has the business experience needed to lead the agency right now.

Walker says he wants to appoint a temporary CEO from outside of WEDC to replace outgoing agency head Paul Jadin. On Friday, he named former Marshfield Clinic Executive Director Reed Hall to the position.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:21)