Interim head of Wis. jobs agency becomes permanent
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday appointed Reed Hall to head Wisconsin’s embattled job-creation agency, an organization Hall has been running on an interim basis since November following the resignation of the previous CEO.
Hall will be the new chief executive of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a public-private agency created to promote economic development in the state. WEDC has been beset by problems since it was created in July 2011, including a lack of basic internal accounting controls to track $56 million in loans.
An audit released last month blamed the problems on poor record-keeping, a lack of basic accounting controls and high staff turnover. Recommendations included upgrading computer software and hiring more people to better track loans and other financial transactions. WEDC responded by outlining a series of changes that were being made to comply.
Walker said he was impressed with how Hall has handled the role since November and that he thinks Hall was the best candidate to provide strong leadership and restore accountability.
“One of the challenges we’ve identified in the past was, particularly with the CFO and some other positions, that they didn’t cover all the bases,” Walker told reporters in Milwaukee with Hall at his side. “Reed Hall ... has tackled those challenges, worked with the auditors, is on top of that, and in many cases either has completed or is in the process of completing all the recommendations that were put in place to correct those issues.”
Hall, 64, is a retired lawyer who served as WEDC’s interim CEO and secretary since November. Before that, he was executive director of the Marshfield Clinic from 2000 to 2010 and was its general counsel for 24 years.
“I am fully aware of the challenges associated with this transition” to permanent CEO, Reed said. “Our immediate focus moving forward is deploying the internal management technology and policies to improve our internal operations, our accountability and transparency.