Report indicates Carney wants to scrap Economic Development Office

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Carney

Gov. John Carney is expected to propose the elimination of the Delaware Economic Development Office as the state struggles with a more than $380 million budget gap.

Carney told the News Journalhe wants to go beyond the findings of a panel he appointed and scrap the agency.

The panel endorsed a public-private partnership but suggested keeping some activities of DEDO in place. (See story below, which contains a link to the report by the working group.)

Working group recommends economic development partnership

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Many states operate private-public partnerships that receive some of their support from contributions from the private sector.

One successful partnership, the Chester County Economic DevelopmentCouncil, has operated for decades.

Support for the partnership has not been unanimous, with concerns over the entity running the risk of having a “pay to play” stance that would tilt the playing field for companies that contribute to the entity.

DEDO also has itssupporters within the General Assembly, although prospects of eliminating a few dozen jobs from the state payroll might be enticing to legislators.

Carney spokesman Jonathan Starkey said the new entity would have bylaws with strong conflict of interest requirements.

That culture was the topic of a scathing report from a panel headed by retired Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Veasey.

Carney has stated that during his tours of the state, he has heard complaints about the responsiveness of the state in attracting and retaining companies.

DEDO is one of the smallest state agencies and has been affected by turnover and hiring freezes.

Global trade activities that are part of many economic development agencies were long ago given to the Secretary of State’s office.

Global trade was spun off after unhappiness over a wave of firings and other concerns about the operation of the office during the administration of former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.

According to Starkey, the tourism office,which is now part of DEDO, would move over to the Department of State.

Starkey said further details on the proposal would be released later today.

The Tourism Office has been gaining praise for its Endless Discoveries campaign, with cutbacks at major employers highlighting the importance of the sector of the economy and state finances.

The state department is a catch-all of agencies that include the state’s incorporations business, Port of Wilmington and the Public Service Commission as well as the global trade office.

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