Local Politics

Top Easley advisor to head Golden LEAF

Posted September 4, 2008 2:22 p.m. EDT
Updated September 4, 2008 2:24 p.m. EDT

— A longtime advisor to Gov. Mike Easley was named Thursday as president of a foundation that funds economic development projects with money from the national tobacco litigation settlement.

Dan Gerlach, who has served as Easley's top budget negotiator throughout the governor's two terms in office, will join Golden LEAF on Oct. 1. He succeeds retiring president Valeria Lee.

"We are pleased to offer the presidency of Golden LEAF to Dan Gerlach and ... look expectantly to the vision and leadership he will bring to our work in North Carolina's rural and distressed communities," Tommy Bunn, chairman of Golden LEAF's board of directors, said in a statement.

Before joining Easley's administration, Gerlach headed the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, a nonprofit that advocated for a progressive state tax system.

Lee has been president of Golden LEAF since 2000. During that time, the foundation awarded 682 grants totaling more than $351 million to support projects in agriculture, economic development, work force preparedness and education.