Calls grow for national search for EDC director

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

The last time Rhode Island went national in its search for a chief economic-development executive, it offered an Arizona business consultant $250,000 per year, plus a car, to lead the state out of the financial crisis. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Calls grow for national search for EDC director

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 2/25/13

The last time Rhode Island went national in its search for a chief economic-development executive, it offered an Arizona business consultant $250,000 per year, plus a car, to lead the state out of the financial crisis.

The salary drew protests and state leaders never found out whether the planned investment was worthwhile: the nominee, Ioanna Morfessis, backed out of the job before being confirmed by the Senate.

Now what might be the most star-crossed job in state government is available again. The man acting in the role for the past 10 months, veteran R.I. Economic Development Corporation staffer William J. Parsons, turned down a permanent appointment recently because of a “serious health issue.”

Assuming Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee finds someone to take the job before the end of the year, the person he hires will become the sixth to serve or be nominated for EDC executive directorship in five years.

The rapid turnover and Rhode Island’s checkered economic record have renewed calls for a more aggressive approach, even if paying corporate executive wages for a public position remains unpopular.

“It is critical that the EDC have experienced, visionary leadership and that requires a broad search,” said Gary Sasse, director of Bryant University’s Institute for Public Leadership and a former director of administration under Gov. Donald L. Carcieri. “The best practice is to find a leader who is nationally recognized and has accomplishments and a sense of strategic direction. The last national search didn’t work out so well. It was the right process but it just didn’t turn out successful.”

The main concern with conducting a national search like the one that led to the Morfessis appointment, Sasse said, is time and the urgency to get a new, permanent leader in place as soon as possible.

From the moment Carcieri announced the nationwide executive director search until Morfessis turned the job down spanned nine months.

“I think you have to balance two things: the state’s ability to hire an experienced, effective leader with national and global exposure, and the need to move on a fast track,” Sasse said. “There is a balance required. You don’t have two years to do all this.”

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Only a few seats remain for PBN's Manufacturing Awards Dinner and Ceremony, Thursday, April 24th, at the Bryant University Bello Center. Don't hesitate. Register today!
  • Business Women
    Accomplished. Confident. Wicked Smart. Nominate women you know who deserve speci ...
  • 40 Under Forty
    It's the 10th Anniversary of 40 Under Forty, and PBN is planning a special event ...
  • Healthiest Employers
    Enrollment now open for the 2014 Healthiest Employers Program. Please take a mom ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News