Walker names Hall WEDC CEO

GREEN BAY — Wisconsin's embattled job-creation agency, first headed by former Green Bay mayor Paul Jadin, has a new leader.

Governor Walker traveled the state to announce the new head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Tuesday.

That man is interim CEO Reed Hall. Before taking over as interim CEO, Hall was the executive director of the Marshfield Clinic from 2000 to 2010.

The governor praised Hall during a stop in Ashwaubenon Tuesday afternoon.

"I firmly believe in the growth of the state of Wisconsin and this is one of the ways that I can hopefully make an impact on the state of Wisconsin," Hall said during the press conference.

The newly appointed WEDC CEO laid out some of his priorities Tuesday afternoon.  

From nurturing existing businesses to opening up world markets in Wisconsin, Hall says it's about creating jobs.

The public-private agency was created to promote economic development in the state.

However, a recent pair of independent reviews identified a number of problems within the agency, such as poor record-keeping and a lack of basic accounting controls.

A series of recommendations were issued. Despite the work ahead, Hall says he's ready.

"That report will be our blue print going forward, our roadmap for solutions in the future," Hall explained.

Governor Walker bypassed recommendations of a search committee, he named,  that conducted a nationwide search for the job.

The governor told reporters Tuesday he felt Hall was a better fit. He says ultimately WEDC board members and the committee did too.

"The overwhelming response was by far, this was the best candidate," Walker said.  "In the end, because I valued the role of those board members, I then took their advice when they told me I should strongly consider interviewing Reed Hall."

However not everyone is as confident.

Democratic Assembly Leader and WEDC board member, Peter Barca released a statement saying:

"Given the need for dramatic improvement in Wisconsin's lackluster job-creation efforts, I had hoped that a nationwide search at significant taxpayer expense would bring a CEO with extensive economic development experience to turn around our state's troubled jobs agency."    

Other Democrats agree.

"Obviously Mr. Hall has a pretty tall order ahead of him," explained State Rep. Eric Genrich, D-Green Bay. "There are a lot of problems going on over there at that agency and they've failed to create the jobs that we're looking for. But it's a tall order and I hope he's ready for it."

Despite the initial hesitation, both representatives say they're ready to work with Hall to better Wisconsin.

Copyright 2014 AP Modified. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Wisconsin (change)

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
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Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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