October 23, 2014

Audit details WEDC’s many problems

A new report from independent auditors shows the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has been marred by high staff turnover, sloppy bookkeeping, and many other issues. WEDC Board member Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) says the agency has failed to live up to its promise.

The Assembly Minority leader says WEDC needs to be on a “short leash,” and if reforms are not made over the next year, Wisconsin’s new public-private job-creation agency should be reverted to the old Commerce Department. Interim WEDC Secretary and CEO Reed Hall says the agency needs a new computer system as well as additional staff, including someone with financial experience — the agency had lost track of some $50 million in loans and about $12 million in loans to businesses likely won’t be paid back.

Hall came on board as the agency head after Paul Jadin resigned this summer. Hall and Barca made their comments before a state Senate committee Monday, the same day the audit was released detailing the first year of WEDC’s operation.