Thu May 2, 2013
Walker, State Dems React To Findings Of WEDC Mismanagement
Both Governor Scott Walker and state Democrats reacted today to a report accusing the state’s economic development agency of mismanagement.
Walker says many of the problems identified in a scathing audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) were already known and are being addressed by the people who work there. But Democrats say nothing will change until Walker accepts blame for the issues.
The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau found the WEDC had no plans for tracking delinquent loans, had insufficient records to track job creation, and in some cases gave out grants that actually violated state law.
Asked about the audit this morning in Milwaukee, Governor Walker said it repeats many issues that were brought up in an earlier private audit of the new agency.
“A lot of it's cleaning up some of the things from the old Department of Commerce. The loans, for example, that they've highlighted were loans made prior to WEDC. They've got to be more diligent in that regard — more than anything, for the confidence of the public out there.”
Walker said changes to board governance and oversight are on the horizon for the WEDC.
As governor, Walker not only created WEDC as one of his first acts in office — he also chairs its board. State Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate says Walker needs to own up to its shortcomings.
“Let me be clear: The failures of WEDC are Scott Walker's failures. Until he takes some responsibility for two straight years of embarrassment over there, things are not likely to improve.”
Tate seized on other findings in the audit, including that agency credit cards were used by employees to purchase six season tickets to University of Wisconsin-Madison football games.
A legislative audit committee is scheduled to discuss the findings next week.