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More problems at economic development agency cited

Published On: Dec 18 2012 02:58:54 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

A new independent review of Wisconsin's quasi-private agency charged with leading economic development activities says considerable work needs to be done to fix operational problems that largely stem from the agency's hasty creation last year.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board received the report Tuesday.

Financial Institution Products Corp., a subsidiary of the Wisconsin Bankers Association, performed the review in the wake of a series of missteps at the agency created in July 2011 to replace the Department of Commerce.

The report said WEDC started with an incomplete infrastructure without a defined set of management reports and policies.

It also said issues at WEDC have been exacerbated by multiple turnovers in senior positions.

The report said that all of the issues presented ought to be able to be resolved.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board meeting Tuesday in Eau Claire comes the day after an audit by accounting firm Schenck SC cited numerous problems with the new agency including sloppy bookkeeping, poor accounting practices and critical staff vacancies.

The audit by Schneck SC said basic internal accounting controls over the loans were not in place. It also said loan agreements did not always contain approved staff or performance reviews.

Creating WEDC to replace the Commerce Department in July 2011 was one of Gov. Scott Walker's top priorities.

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