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Audit: WEDC marred by high turnover, missing safeguards, bad bookkeeping

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - An audit released Monday afternoon shows that Wisconsin’s new public and private job creation agency has been marred by high staff turnover, missing safeguards, and shoddy bookkeeping.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation hired Schenck SC to review the agency’s performance, after a series of problems became public over the last few months.

According to the audit, the problems resulted in loans to businesses that were never collected – financial agreements that were unrecorded or misquoted – and transactions and credit cards having no system for catching mistakes or embezzlement.

Many of the problems stemmed from the fact that about half the agency’s employees left when the Development Corporation replaced the old state Commerce Department.

The audit recommended improvements at all levels of the corporation. The private audit was released while a second audit of the agency is being performed by the state’s Legislative Audit Bureau. Reed Hall – who came on board as the agency’s director after Paul Jadin this summer – admitted that the agency has made mis-steps, and they’ve cooperated fully with the auditors.

Board member Peter Barca, the state Assembly’s Democratic leader, said the agency has failed to live up to its promise – and if reforms are not made over the next year, the agency should be scrapped.

The Corporation was part of Governor Scott Walker’s campaign pledges from 2010 – and he chairs its board.