MADISON (WITI) — On Tuesday, January 29th, Gov. Scott Walker named a new head of the state’s top job creation agency — the second since 2011. Reed Hall is set to serve as the head of Wisconsin’s Economic Development Corporation.
When Gov. Walker was elected, he did away with the Department of Commerce and created the public-private entity WEDC. It was supposed to be the state’s go-to agency on job creation, but it has garnered more attention for bad management.
On Tuesday, Gov. Walker announced a new leader for the agency.
“I’m joining a team at WEDC that is second to none,” Hall said.
WEDC is the agency responsible for attracting companies to Wisconsin and retaining jobs in the state. However, almost since it’s inception, it has been criticized for mismanagement. The agency lost track of millions in loans and mishandled federal complaints.
“It has been an unmitigated failure. Besides hiring people who are unqualified and incompetent to lead it, they have lost track of tens of millions of dollars of public funding and again we haven’t grown jobs,” Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said.
WEDC’s first CEO Paul Jadin stepped down in the fall, and Hall replaced him on an interim basis. Now, Hall has been appointed on a permanent basis and says the continuing transition and a new computer system will improve oversight and credibility.
“Getting those things taken care of will further add credibility to WEDC, and perhaps regain some of the credibility that was lost temporarily,” Hall said.
Gov. Walker acknowledged the management of the WEDC has been problematic, but praised the work of the rank and file.
“The other employees who are involved around the country and across the state in economic development the resounding response I’ve heard is that this is better than ever,” Gov. Walker said.
“This is just more of the same. The last guy that Walker hired to do his economic development in Milwaukee County is now in prison. Reed Hall is a tea party activist, a Republican donor. It’s more cronyism, really and we still have a dismal record on job creation. We’re 42nd in the country,” Tate said.