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Politics & Government

Reed Hall Leaving Top Post at WEDC

The CEO of Wisconsin's besieged job creation agency plans to retire from his position on Sept. 25. Reed Hall says he originally accepted the job for a three-month interim period and now, three years later, it's time to resume his retirement.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has been plagued by reports critical of its performance. Criticisms include that it failed to track delinquent loans and lacked documentation to justify many of its decisions.

In the letter announcing his retirement, Hall thanked WEDC staff. "We have put in place checks and balances, enhanced financial tracking, and expanded the information that we provide to the WEDC Board, the Wisconsin Legislature, and the public. WEDC’s programs have helped the Wisconsin economy to grow."

Gov. Walker released a statement on Hall's departure. The governor thanked Hall for his service and leadership. "Under Reed’s guidance, WEDC strengthened its accountability and transparency to taxpayers, improving the public trust, while moving forward the important work of developing economic opportunity for families all around our state."

Gov. Walker created WEDC in 2011, a public-private agency, to replace the former Dept. of Commerce, believing it would be more efficient and effective at fostering job creation by distributing state grants and loans. WEDC recently removed Gov. Walker as its board chairman, as he runs for the Republican nomination for president.

Before succeeding Paul Jadin as CEO, Hall had served as executive director of the Marshfield Clinic.

Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca, who serves on the WEDC Board, released a statement on Hall's retirement, acknowledging his public service during a period of high turnover. In June, Barca had called for Hall's resignation following a critical report from the Legislative Audit Bureau.

Several proposals have been submitted for retooling the agency, including a plan to remove politicians from its board.