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Submitted by Chris Phillips on Wed, 08/28/2013 - 9:46pm.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Leaders of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center are discussing the agency's 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. Under a plan discussed Wednesday, the center would no longer make grants. It would oversee several smaller loan programs focusing on small businesses. A report from State Auditor Beth Wood found grant reporting requirements weren't carried out, job creation measures for grant recipients failed to be verified and pay of then-President Billy Ray Hall was unreasonable. Hall retired and center chairwoman Valeria Lee resigned. ___ Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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