for starters, their North American corporate headquarters are in SC.
Second, South Carolina put together the program the corporate leaders were looking for.
Third, see the second. South Carolina officials traveled to Germany just after the Paris Air Show, in part, to garner last minute data which could be used in fine tuning their proposal. On the other hand, Secretary Crisco, and his 5 staff members, who were also at the Air Show chose not to go to Germany to show intense interest in the project or to garner critical data which might have made a difference. The same held true for Secretary of State Marshall who traveled to Moldova, on the taxpayers' dime and also chose to bypass a trip to Germany while in Europe.
Fourth, look at that 100 page email chain. This was not some spur of the moment program. Corporations don't plan on a multi-year billion dollar investment without a lot of planning. Yet the majority of the state emails show last minute, grasping efforts. Efforts to use exisiting programs, designed for small to mid size corporate incentives, to cover the unique needs of this extraordinary opportunity. It was akin to trying to put a basketball into a green hole at the golf course. Out of the box thinking was required. South Carolina did it; North Carolina did not.
There were references to other North Carolina sites which could have been acceptable. But, the email writer spent more time worried about some existing incentive program which might interfere with a project of this size. That would have seemed to be a no brainer. While the legislature was in session, you get that incentive program modified to allow this project to move forward.
And the SC site selected showed port access was not a critical issue.
There were references to some pending legal action, in NC, against Continental Tire by the labor union and its employees. A lawsuit which commenced in 2007 or 2008, I believe. Why was that an issue of concern which expended a lot of email time. Pretty quickly, it could have been determined, through email or face to face meetings with Continental Tire to determine if this was a critical issue. If it was a deal breaker, then move on rather than try to force a deal to happen which might not have had a chance.
Fifth, sadly, it appears all involved in NC government will continue to try to shift blame rather than learn from the lessons gained and develop some modern day thinking.
Sixth, at the end of the day, the Governor and Secretary of Commerce should share the blame. This opportunity required leadership which would cut through butt covering emails and force State staff to develop an incentive plan unique for this corporation which could then be approved or turned down by the Governor, Council of State, and the Legislature while it was in session.
Bottom Line, too little and too late.
But never fear, our Governor and Secretary of Commerce are headed to Asia this month to build relationships.
And no doubt, next Spring, the Secretary will lead another contingent to the Air Show in Europe where they will work on relationship building and prospect development for the fifth consecutive year, on the taxpayers' dime.
And don't kid yourself. Asian and European corporate leaders probably have a better graps on how this deal did not go down in North Carolina than some in our Government. With existing programs, and mindsets in Raleigh, North Carolina is likely viewed as a second tier opportunity for small ventures which might add a hundred or two hundred jobs for a new business opportunity. Not likely that we would be given serious consideration for a large corporate undertaking.
All the focus was on the long term jobs. This should have been a no brainer. From the very ground breaking, hundreds would have been employed during the construction phases. And as the construction progressed, those 1500 permanent jobs would have come on line in phases.
This was a major opportunity lost.
I guess in government, when something doesn't work, you stay the course with that same program until your successor is elected or appointed.
The first order of business should be the replacement of the Secretary of Commerce and his spokesman. They've had ample time to get the job done. IN corporate America, the real world, repeated failures normally lead to replacement. IN other words, encourage them to seek alternate employment opportunities.
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