Raleigh, N.C. — Officials with the Commerce Department have officially formed the private side of the state's new public-private economic recruiting partnership that is scheduled to go into effect next year.
Incorporation papers for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Inc. were filed with the Secretary of State's Office last week. The new group will be a 501(c)3 nonprofit that will handle business recruiting functions for the state.
"It's still our intent by the first quarter of next year we will have the business development organization in place," Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said during a conference call with reporters last week.
According to Decker and other administration officials, the new nonprofit will be able to react faster than government officials to inquiries from businesses hoping to relocate or expand in North Carolina.
Progress on the nonprofit is proceeding despite the lack of a full-throated endorsement from the General Assembly.
Lawmakers failed to pass a bill detailing how the new nonprofit should operate, mainly because it was attached to a controversial measure dealing with energy production in the state. However, a smaller provision in the state budget gives the Commerce Department authority to move ahead with the changes.
That budget provision is much less detailed than the standalone bill and gives the department wide latitude in how to construct the new nonprofit. But in a prior interview, Decker has said she plans to follow the more detailed outline laid out in the bill that fell short of legislative approval.
Last week, she confirmed that she was actively interviewing potential chief executives for the partnership.
"We are doing a lot of the work to put this organization in place," Decker told reporters at the end of a conference call that had focused on the Commerce Departments efforts around rural development. "We're on track to make that happen."
According to its incorporation papers, the new nonprofit will be "collaborating with the North Carolina Department of Commerce to assist, promote, and enhance economic opportunities, particularly in the State of North Carolina's rural and urban communities; and involving the private sector in a meaningful and material way in economic development efforts previously undertaken by the State of North Carolina and its instrumentalities and political subdivisions, and thereby lessening the burdens on, and of, government."
Although the incorporation papers don't specify, the initial 15-member board would be appointed by the governor, speaker of the House and Senate president pro tem, according to Senate Bill 127.