July 28, 2014

WEDC vigilant of future conflicts

Wisconsin’s flagship job creation agency is keeping a closer eye out for conflicts of interest. A recent Legislative Audit Bureau report of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation found a potential conflict with a third-party firm that had conducted an earlier audit of the agency. The report stated that Schenck S.C. did not disclose its relationship with a company that received money from WEDC.

During a Monday meeting of WEDC’s audit committee, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca questioned how this could’ve happened. “I’m just shocked that this fell through the cracks. In fairness to them, I’d like to know what went wrong here,” said Barca, an audit committee member.

WEDC Deputy Secretary Ryan Murray said both Schenk and the agency are investigating details of the case. He said ultimately it’s up to an auditor to disclose its dealings. Nevertheless, this summer when WEDC will begin fielding audit offers from private firms, Murray said they have devised protocols to help catch any potential conflicts “including searches of our I.T. systems, as well as staff training so that all staff members are aware of whom the auditor is, if it comes across their desks in another capacity.”

In late June, WEDC is expected to have proposals from firms interested in conducting the next agency audit.

The three-person audit committee is made up businessman Ray Dreger, Rep. Peter Barca, and Rep. Jeff Stone. Monday’s meeting also included lawyers and compliance personnel for WEDC.