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Lassa hopes for progress at emergency WEDC meeting Wednesday


MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  An emergency meeting will take place today for Wisconsin’s troubled economic development corporation. Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, or WEDC, has had a series of problems since the agency was formed to replace the state’s Commerce Department.

WEDC has been through several staff members, and an audit has found issues with their grant and lending practices, along with other inconsistencies.

State Senator Julie Lassa from Stevens Point is on the WEDC Board, which she calls a weak board, because the board members are not in a position to guide decisions or even fully know what is going on.

Lassa is glad an emergency meeting of the WEDC Board has been called for today, and expects several board members to demand changes. “Absolutely. I think that there are a number of the board of directors who are very upset about what the audit has revealed, and the fact that they weren’t told about these issues prior to this, so I think that will hopefully be a really good meeting where we can really drill down into what’s happening at the corporation.”

That recent state audit showed that the W-E-D-C failed to follow state laws by not adopting required policies, and made numerous mistakes and oversights in its projects and grants to companies for creating jobs. Governor Scott Walker plans to attend that meeting.

The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to go over the WEDC budget Thursday. Lassa is hoping that gets postponed. “That same morning, the Joint Committee on Audit is scheduled to hear from the Audit Bureau as well as from Secretary Hall and other members of the WEDC management team in response to the audit, so I’m hoping the Joint Finance Committee will delay taking action on the WEDC portion of the budget until we get more answers. Satisfactory answers.”

The emergency board meeting starts at 7:50 a.m. in the Waukesha State Office Building.