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More Problems at Wis. Economic Development Agency Cited

Posted at: 12/18/2012 3:16 PM
Updated at: 12/18/2012 3:33 PM

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - 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 says WEDC started with an incomplete infrastructure without a defined set of management reports and policies.

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

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

Block grant program moving out of WEDC

A block grant program will no longer be administered by Wisconsin's semi-private economic development agency after concerns were raised by the federal government.

Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said Tuesday that DOA will assume administration of the program after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development questioned whether it was legal for the quasi-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to award the grants.

HUD said in the August letter that WEDC failed to follow federal law and its own policies in issuing Community Development Block Grants.

Huebsch told the WEDC board Tuesday that DOA will now administer the program in order to satisfy the federal government's concerns.

Democratic state Rep. Peter Barca says it's "very unfortunate" this problem was not identified before WEDC was created last year.

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