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Hall says WEDC will be more accountable


WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  The man chosen to lead the state’s public-private business and job growth assistance program was in Wausau Thursday. The introduction of Reed Hall as Wisconsin’s new Secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation was delayed a couple of days by the recent storms.

When asked about the WEDC’s highly-publicized bad business loan problem with millions of unaccountable taxpayer dollars, Reed said the group is changing it’s structure and procedures with guidance from the state and the banking industry.  He also pointed out much of the problem occured under the former Commerce Department which was replaced by the WEDC.

Hall says the WEDC is doing three things. They are recruiting a new chief financial officer. They are also posting a new position for a senior credit officer similar to a bank would have. They are also looking into a computer system to track loans and have the participant’s data readily available.

Hall says they may be taking some structure from banks, but the WEDC doesn’t operate quite the same way.  "Banks experience a one percent failure rate of their loans, and they can't go higher than that.  Our job and our mission is to create jobs, so we're going to have more failures.  More start-ups, more companies that can't get bank loans, but in return, we have job creation and we hope they are all successful."

Governor Scott Walker selected Reed Hall based on his background, which includes legal work and many years behind the scenes at Marshfield Clinic.