Report censures WEDC for mismanagementThe Legislative Audit Bureau has issued a report citing mismanagement in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
By: By Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The Legislative Audit Bureau has issued a report citing mismanagement in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
The agency found the WEDC has not adequately documented how tax money has been used to meet the public-private corporation's mission of creating jobs.
The audit bureau is critical of the corporation, which replaced the state Department of Commerce.
State Sen. Robert Cowles (R-De Pere) co-chairs the legislature's Joint Audit Committee: “This is not acceptable.”
The Audit Bureau Report says WEDC violated state law by awarding money to ineligible projects or by not collecting enough data.
Reed Hall is the secretary and CEO of WEDC. He took over the post late last year. In a written response to the audit bureau, he cited the agency's high staff turnover rate and says he is implementing changes. Plus, Hall's statement says the WEDC was “purposefully created with greater flexibility than a state agency”:
“We disagree that we are violating the statutes. We think that we have met the intent of the statutes, if not the clear language of the statutes. If there are areas that we need to improve on, we will do that.”
Cowles disagrees. He says the WEDC has failed to track delinquent loans and job creation numbers as was intended.
“They have financial statements from any entity that received grants or loans. They're supposed to have their financial statements each year. Some half of those companies did not provide those things. Another one that jumped out was ineligible expenses. There were some grant awards given to some entities that should not have gotten them.”
The Joint Audit Committee will question WEDC officials at a hearing on May 9.