Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wisconsin Development Board, Members, Being Used, Dissed

One of Scott Walker's signature, pro-business moves upon becoming Governor last year was morphing the cabinet-level Wisconsin Department of Commerce into something that CEO's and investor-types were supposed to like even better- - a public/private hybrid with a business-dominated Board of Directors called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Set aside that the executive director there is quitting after little more than a year at the helm, and that the new agency has failed to lead a business turn-around in Wisconsin as Walker is only +11% towards his campaign pledge to create 250,000 new jobs during a four-year term.

Facts are emerging that the agency kept its board in the dark about allegations from federal regulators that millions of taxpayer dollars were being poorly managed and perhaps spent without legal authority.

The Wisconsin State Journal broke the story.

It's bad policy to keep important information like that from a board, especially one with a public mission and multi-million-dollar public budget - - and worse, in this case, since it was the board chair Scott Walker himself who is on record opting for management by bureaucratic double-speak instead of disclosure, as reported by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Walker, who chairs the economic development board, defended the decision not to inform the board of the matter, saying the federal government "routinely" corresponds with the state.

"It's one where the Department of Administration is still waiting to hear back from HUD in terms of whether the things they're proposing are acceptable to them," he said. "And if those are things that need approval from the board certainly we'll have a special meeting of the board."
Late Thursday update: Apologies and other CYA activities smooth over the administration's bad behavior.

All of which undermines something Walker told The Lakeland Times during the 2010 campaign about "transparency:"


When he says he believes in government transparency, it's not just a campaign slogan, Walker said.

"I don't just say that, I've lived it," he said.

The Journal Sentinel is also reporting that one board member, threatening resignation, seems to be catching on.

I suspect the public will be close behind.

No comments: