New model plan being studied for Rural Center
RALEIGH — The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center would no longer make grants and would oversee several smaller loan programs focusing on small businesses under a plan its leaders discussed Wednesday.
Leaders of the agency met to discuss its future following a critical review of its operations.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports (http://bit.ly/191eXoR) those leaders said they intend to focus on small business needs in a diminished form as they deal with a loss in its ability to handle millions in state funding.
The proposal also calls on the center to continue its effort to build leadership "capacity" in rural areas.
Bill Gibson, acting chairman of the center, said there are "promising potentials ahead" that would include a downsized center and a possible partnership with the state Commerce department. Gibson said no action or final decisions are expected Wednesday.
A report from State Auditor Beth Wood in July found grant reporting requirements weren't carried out, job creation measures for grant recipients failed to be verified and the pay of then-President Billy Ray Hall was unreasonable.
Hall retired and center chairwoman Valeria Lee resigned.