September 18, 2014

Barca praises push to expand WEDC board control

A state lawmaker is praising a push to give the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation more control over who the agency hires.

The WEDC Board this week endorsed a resolution that would give members the final say on hiring and firing the agency’s chief executive, financial, and operating officers. State Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), who sits on the board, says the change would help improve accountability at the troubled job creation agency.

Barca says “you’re not really getting the benefits of having a private sector board, if the staff and the leadership is not responsive to the board members. The only way you can keep people accountable is if you have the power to both hire and to fire.”

AUDIO: Rep. Peter Barca (:14)

Barca and other Democrats have pushed for much broader legislation, which includes removing the governor as the automatic chairman of WEDC. While the board only endorsed the hiring and firing provision, he says it’s a step in the right direction that will allow members to be more engaged.

The state Legislature will still have to approve any bill that would expand the board’s authority.