Grant writers and regulatory specialists in local development offices? No sign of them
Gov. Rick Scott promised during his 2010 campaign that local economic development offices would have the right resources to recruit business to their areas, including specialists that would help local companies meet regulations and pursue government grants.
After Scott's first year in office, his staff told us, "Placing grant-writing and regulatory specialists in each local economic development office would require additional funding. Therefore, this has not been implemented yet." We rated Scott's promise Stalled.
At the start of Scott's fourth year in office, we sought an update about his progress. We reached out to Scott's staff, a spokeswoman at the state Department of Economic Opportunity and Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development organization.
Sean Helton, a spokesman for Enterprise Florida, sent us back lists of accomplishments during Scott's tenure, but none were specifically related to placing grant writing and regulatory specialists in each local economic development office.
This may be just one piece of Scott's overall agenda on jobs, but it hasn't happened. And we see no sign it will happen in the near future. We rate this Promise Broken.
Interview, Sean Helton, spokesman for Enterprise Florida, Jan. 8, 2014
No action yet on promise to add local economic development specialists
Rick Scott's campaign plan to create 700,000 jobs in seven years included nurturing local economic development offices.
The offices, his plan said, are "central to job creation and retention in our state."
The structure of local development offices varies, though many operate at a county level. Some are county agencies; others reside in chambers of commerce or public-private partnerships. Enterprise Florida, the state's public-private economic development arm, lists primary economic development contacts by county.
Scott pledged during the campaign to ensure that the offices would have "the right resources," including specialists that would help local businesses meet regulations and pursue government grants.
Nearly a year into the governor's first term, we asked his office for a progress report on boosting local economic development expertise.
"Placing grant-writing and regulatory specialists in each local economic development office would require additional funding," his staff wrote. "Therefore, this has not been implemented yet."
We also checked the job creation plan of the state's newly consolidated state Department of Economic Opportunity, written in collaboration with Enterprise Florida and Workforce Florida. It included no mention of boosting specialists.
Scott's plan was built to unfold over seven years. If he takes steps toward adding specialists to local economic development offices, we'll revisit our ruling. Until then, this promise is Stalled.