WEDC board fails to address Eaton outsourcing at quarterly meeti - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

WEDC board fails to address Eaton outsourcing at quarterly meeting

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OSHKOSH (WKOW) -- For a second straight meeting the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Board of Directors failed to address questions about money the agency has awarded to a company that continues to outsource Wisconsin jobs.

In April, a 27 News investigation revealed the Eaton Corporation was laying off 93 people at its Watertown plant and sending those jobs to Tijuana, Mexico.
It marked the second time in three years the company has outsourced jobs to Mexico. In April 2013, Eaton Corp. sent 163 jobs from its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee to Tijuana as well. The company is outsourcing despite receiving nearly $370,000 tax credits from WEDC.

"Obviously our ultimate goal is to make sure that businesses aren't outsourcing," Gov. Walker told 27 News on April 30, 2015, three days after our investigation revealed that second case of outsourcing.

The Governor also said he had asked WEDC officials at that time to look at clawing back some of that money.

"We're not necessarily concluding that we can't take action even under the current arrangements. we're still trying to look through what other options we might have," said Gov. Walker.

It seemed clear Governor Walker thought he might get some answers on the issue at Monday's quarterly meeting.

"They're gonna give some of updates later at the board meeting, they do that on a constant basis," said Gov. Walker early Monday morning.

Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), who sits on the WEDC Board, also expected an update.

"Absolutely, we fully expect they will let us know this morning," said Rep. Barca

But when Rep. Barca asked for an update, WEDC Chief Legal Counsel advised board members not to discuss the matter, because it had not been noticed on the public agenda for Monday.

27 News asked new Board Chair Dan Ariens, President and CEO of Ariens Company, why Eaton's contract status wasn't considered urgent enough to be scheduled for discussion Monday.

"Today's agenda had its agenda structure and we followed that structure," said Ariens.

The WEDC Board won't meet again until October, meaning answers on what WEDC is doing to claw back taxpayer dollars may not be known for another three months.

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