CEO Hall says WEDC taking responsibility for loan issues

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO Reed Hall told a legislative committee that a number of new initiatives at the agency will help resolve issues related to untracked loans.

Hall says interviews are being completed for the WEDC’s new chief financial officer, adding he hopes to have that official on board in two weeks. In addition, an RFP for a new computer system is being prepared, and the agency’s loan functions are set to be consolidated into one area.

Hall discussed the developments during testimony before the Legislature’s budget committee yesterday.

Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, asked the agency to comply with recommendations by the Legislative Audit Bureau, and criticized testimony by former CEO Paul Jadin before the Joint Audit Committee last session.

“I think your agency’s been marked by secrecy and mismanagement,” Richards said.

Hall said he didn’t disagree with Richards’ concerns, but COO Ryan Murray said the agency is already required to undertake those measures.

“We are, I think, easily the most scrutinized and the most heavily reported on agency in state government,” Murray said.

Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, questioned Hall about whether tax credits are the best way to invest in economic development.

“Are these tax credits that the company would just like to have, or are these tax credits that they need?” Mason asked.

“I think we need to have dollars available to create jobs,” Hall responded. “If they don’t do that, we have the clawback.”

See more from the hearings in the WisPolitics Budget Blog