67° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy

Audit finds faults with state job-creation agency

Published On: Dec 17 2012 09:54:48 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 18 2012 07:45:44 AM CST

An independent audit said high staff turnover, poor record keeping and a lack of basic accounting controls all contributed to problems in the first year of Wisconsin's premiere job-creation agency.

The draft audit released Monday looked at the first year of operations of the semi-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The agency has been beset with a series of problems, including not properly tracking $56 million in loans to businesses. Borrowers have fallen behind on payments on loans now worth more than $12 million.

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.

WEDC officials said steps are being taken to improve operations.

WEDC, in announcing the hiring of independent auditors, blamed some mistakes on a loss of personnel. The auditors agreed that was a factor.

"This isn't what we hoped to find, but it's not unexpected when you go from 300 employees to 50 as a new agency," said WEDC interim CEO Reed Hall. "We're all looking to make sure this is corrected so we can go on to write new chapters of history at the agency."

Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said the audit shows that the decision to transform the state Department of Commerce into WEDC "without any real planning is a huge problem."

The audit was also to be discussed at a full WEDC board meeting on Tuesday in Eau Claire.

  • Nobel logo shadow

    Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

    2015 Nobel Prize winners

    Winners will be announced all week for the Nobel Prize for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Economics and Peace. Here are some of the winners that have been announced.

  • FIFA teaser

    Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

    FIFA corruption scandal: What you need to know

    With FIFA's ethics committee on Wednesday recommending a 90-day suspension for president Sepp Blatter, take a look at the corruption charges lobbed at the embattled soccer organization so far.

  • Life ring from El Faro found


    Timeline: El Faro sinking

    The captain of the missing container ship El Faro is capable and experienced, a friend says, and likely believed he had a good plan to avoid Hurricane Joaquin in the Atlantic when he and 32 other crew members departed Florida for Puerto Rico last week. Take a look at details of El Faro's sinking.