October 31, 2014

WEDC interim director predicts improvement

Governor Scott Walker met with the board of the troubled Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Tuesday, following an audit of the agency. The independent audit by Schenck SC found that WEDC was hampered with poor loan management, losing track of $50-million, $19-million of which will likely not be paid back. The Board of Directors and Walker held a meeting in Eau Claire to discuss the audit, and to try to find resolutions.

“Anytime that you go from the Department of Commerce, with 300 employees, down to 50 employees with the Wiscosnin Economic Development Corporation, you’re going to have certain staffing issues develop from that,” said WEDC Interim Executive Director, Reed Hall.

Members of the Wisconsin Bankers Association contributed to the meeting at Marshfield Clinic by giving tips to the board, including the establishment of an internal credit committee with the inclusion of outside members, and development of a collection policy and loan risk rating system. Hall said the recommendations will be used as a road map to a much improved organization. “I think within six months you’re going to see a much better organization, much tighter, much more attention to loan management,” said Hall.

Hall, a former Marshfield Clinic exec, has been the interim CEO since October after initial leader Paul Jadin took a regional economic development post in Madison. The search for a permanent WEDC head will advance on Wednesday, when the a committee completes interviews of seven remaining candidates. The names of five finalists will be forwarded to Governor Walker.

Mike Ness, WAYY