Gov. Pat McCrory was on hand Thursday for a ribbon cutting for the state’s newly privatized economic development group, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
The group, funded primarily with more than $16 million in public dollars and $500,000 in private dollars serves as the state’s “marketing and sales” with the task of luring both visitors and companies to the state.
“Now is no time to rest on our laurels,” McCrory said Thursday, saying the state needed to continue a push to bring in new jobs and businesses to the state.
Setting up the public-private partnership was a big piece of the economic agenda McCrory set when he took office two years ago. The privatized set-up has shown mixed results in other states that have adopted the models, and critics point to scandals and accusations of harboring a pay-to-play culture that have emerged in other states like Ohio and Indiana.
On Thursday, McCrory told the small crowd that taking those functions out of state government allowed his administration to be more “nimble and quick” in economic development work.
Joining McCrory at the ribbon cutting was Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, McCrory’s new Commerce Secretary, John Skvarla and Christopher Chung, the recently hired CEO of the public-private partnership.
Chung, the new CEO of the economic development group who began his work in North Carolina earlier this month.
Chung came to the state from Missouri, where he helped start up and lead that state’s public-private economic development partnership in 2007. He replaces Richard “Dick” Lindenmuth, a businessman who had been hired a year earlier by McCrory and will remain working for the partnership on a contract basis.
McCrory said his staff is working with Republican legislative leaders in crafting a new proposal dubbed N.C. Compete, though McCrory declined to offer any specifics about the policy plan.
The board of the Economic Development Partnership will also meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the group’s headquarters, 15000 Weston Parkway in Cary.