By Jeff Simpson
We brought you the story of how Scott Walker's key job creation agency - Wisconsin Economic Development Committee(WEDC), has been a massive failure. This was one of Scott Walkers big campaign ideas, to replace the accountable Commerce Department with the unaccountable WEDC.
Unfortunately, this is one promise he actually kept. WEDC's failings are grand, costly and well documented but there is so much more.
Let's look at the WEDC mission statement that comes from Scott Walker himself:
To elevate the Wisconsin economy to be the best in the world by providing a positive business climate, world-class support services, and economic development tools to accelerate business start-up, attraction, and growth.
INTEGRITY. We will hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards.
HONESTY. We will tell the truth without qualification.
ACCOUNTABILITY. We will honor our commitments to ourselves, our partners, and our investors.
RESULTS-FOCUS. We will add value in every action.
CUSTOMER-CENTRIC. We will put the needs of the customer first.
Then he goes directly against everything he has written out here(career politician Scott Walker is Chairman of the Board) by appointing young, no business experience, political hack Ryan Murray as Chief Operating Officer . Nothing like trusting a multi million Wisconsin taxdollar budget to a kid(Ryan Murray) who has a Poly Sci degree and an extensive history of making copies and stuffing mailers, for the "friends of scott walker" campaign.
But wait, there's more(thanks to an astute reader of this very blog):
I was curious to know who is Ryan Murray, chief job creator. He has no business experience. But Murray has worked for disgusting right wing politicians with questionable ethics.Apparently the one thing he did master, while working for Scott Walker, was how to leave your ethics at the door. It is not that big of a deal anyway, its only tax dollars!
Then there is Murray’s conflict of interest as a Member of the Board of Directors for Brightstar Wisconsin Foundation, which “accepts charitable donations as a 501(c)(3) organization and uses them to take equity positions in for-profit early-stage companies.” WEDC gave Brightstar $300,000. How much profit is going into Murray’s pockets as a member of the Board?
The explanation on Brightstar’s website about this conflict of interest does not pass the smell test.
But Wait there is still more! Small Government republican Scott Walker better look up what the word small means!
The Legislative Audit Bureau found that as of November 2012, eight WEDC officials received salaries of more than $100,000, with a ninth at $98,500. The audit notes that several top level position holders at WEDC are paid less than their industry peers.Eight executives making well over $100,000/yr, and have given out numerous merit awards. All while the agency itself has lost MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars. I would be curious to see what in their job description would make them worthy of merit pay INCREASES.
By comparison, at the former Wisconsin Department of Commerce, the state agency that Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican majority replaced with WEDC in 2011, just two employees topped $100,000 in 2010, according to payroll data collected by Wisconsin Reporter through an open records request.
WEDC CEO Reed Hall, reportedly was set to make $120,000 when he took the full-time position in January 2013. In February, he received a $65,000 raise.
The agency has around 90 employees, including regional account managers through the state.
About a fifth of WEDC employees received “merit awards” from management, the audit notes. Board members at WEDC may not have even been aware of the policy.
“We found that WEDC’s full governing board has not always been informed about certain personnel policies and practices, including the amounts and types of compensation and fringe benefits provided to WEDC staff,” the audit states.
In December 2012, 17 staff members received merit awards totaling $59,500. Six of those awards were for $5,000 each.
That does not even include the other perks like a taxpayer funded iphone, ipad and we will even foot the bill for their members to come down to Madison on football Saturdays and catch a game(we even provide the tickets):
WEDC seems like a great place to hide Big Walker donors children, so much easier than having them attempt to survive in the real world.
Among other notes, the audit found $1,109 spent from three transactions for rooms rented in Madison for unspecified meetings. Taxpayers also picked up the $1,789 tab for six season tickets to UW-Madison football games.
The punchline of the audit though, is this:
The audit notes that several top level position holders at WEDC are paid less than their industry peers.A gold-plated, marvelous no-prize awaits if you can find anyone in Wisconsin, who is a peer to Ryan Murray and whose salary is higher than Ryan's.
Contest entries - firstname.lastname@example.org or @jeffsimpson7