Waushara County Administrator addresses article on TREDC in Aug. 19 Waushara Argus
Waushara County Admin-istrator Bob Sivick spoke to the Argus about a story appearing last week regarding the Tri-County Regional Economic Development Corporation (TREDC). TREDC was cre-ated fourteen years ago to jointly promote economic development within its three member counties of Waushara, Green Lake, and Marquette.
Last week’s article re-ported representatives of member counties announced at a recent TREDC meeting they would no longer provide their combined $120 thousand annual appropriation to fund the salary and expenses of TREDC Executive Director Bill Wheeler. Sivick said neither he, Waushara Board Chairperson Donna Kalata, nor their counterparts in Green Lake and Marquette counties are opposed to economic development in general or TREDC in particular. He emphasized, “The problem the counties had was Mr. Wheeler’s poor management of TREDC which had been a concern for some time.”
Sivick characterized that concern as “simmering” until “boiling over” when member county board chairs received a letter dated Sept. 13, 2017 from Administrator Sara Buschman of the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA). The Argus received copies of that letter, a separate letter from Buschman to Wheeler, as well as an agenda and notes prepared by DOA documenting a telephone conference call between State and county officials taking place on Nov. 3, 2017 regarding TREDC.
Those documents de-tailed Wheeler’s failure to complete and submit reports on the use of Federal funds managed by TREDC on behalf of member counties. The money was part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, administered by the State of Wisconsin and used by local governments to fund a variety of projects. Wheeler contended he was not legally required to file the reports despite Federal and State officials informing him his interpretation of laws governing CDBG funds was incorrect.