New bill will bring more transparency to WEDC

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today signed a bill designed to bring more transparency and accountability to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Assembly Bill 179 requires the WEDC’s board members and employees to notify its legal counsel if they have a direct or indirect financial interest in a contract being negotiated, bid for or entered into with the WEDC.

“This legislation provides clear direction to board members and employees alike and adds increased transparency and accountability for the WEDC,” Walker said.  “I thank Representative Jeff Stone (R-Greendale) and Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) for their leadership on this bipartisan, good government bill.”

WEDC board members are now able to recuse themselves from matters where they have a conflict of interest while remaining on the board for other unrelated matters.  In addition to the notification requirement, Assembly Bill 179 also mandates the following for WEDC board members and employees:

  • The member or employee must notify WEDC’s legal counsel if s/he has a controlling interest in an entity negotiating, bidding for, or entering into a contract with the WEDC.
  • Prohibits any board member or employee with a private financial interest in a control from participating in the making of the contract or to exercise an official function that requires the exercise of discretion in regard to the contract.
  • Prohibits the WEDC from entering into any contract with an entity in which a board member or employee has a controlling interest. 

Under existing law, WEDC board members are also subject to the state’s ethic laws, including financial disclosure requirements, standards of conduct, and conflict of interest prohibition. Assembly Bill 179 passed the Assembly on a vote of 80 – 15 and the Senate on a voice vote. 

Today’s WEDC Board meeting was held at Green Bay Packaging Inc. in Ashwaubenon. 

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