RICHMOND, VA – The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) report released Monday highlighted inefficiencies and management problems at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). The report details the systematic deficiencies at the state agency and outlined recommendations that should be taken by the General Assembly to restore accountability and oversight.
“Today’s JLARC report on VEDP is extremely disappointing.” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “VEDP lacks the basic practices necessary for effective management and marketing of Virginia’s economic development activities. It is important that we do everything we can to get VEDP back on the right track so that Virginia can remain competitive when attracting new jobs and investment. I appreciate JLARC’s work to uncover these problems and I look forward to working with my colleagues to fix them.”
“JLARC’s report on VEDP shows that the McAuliffe-Northam administration’s governance of VEDP has severely failed the Commonwealth,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “The report uncovered a lack of basic employee oversight. If VEDP leadership does not even hold staff accountable for basic employment obligations, how can we trust they going to hold businesses accountable to incentive agreements? This is unacceptable. While we appreciate the steps that newer board members have taken to fix some of the problems, the Governor should call on Lt. Governor Northam and the entire VEDP board to immediately remedy the management deficiencies pointed out by JLARC.”
Speaking to the report House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) said, “This report is highly critical of the operation of VEDP and its board. Rest assured the General Assembly will make the necessary reforms, potentially including a total makeover of VEDP. We will also implement the additional oversight measures necessary to ensure the efficient and effective use of tax payer dollars.”
“I want to thank JLARC for their outstanding report today on VEDP,” said Chairman Bobby Orrock (R-Caroline). “Today’s report demonstrates why JLARC exists. Their expert work uncovering systematic failures at state agencies is vitally important, now more than ever. This report will guide the General Assembly’s deliberations on how to remedy the problems at VEDP.”
Highlights from JLARC’s Report on VEDP:
- VEDP has operated without using basic practices necessary for effective management and marketing.
- VEDP’s unstructured and inconsistent approach to administering state incentive grant programs leaves the state vulnerable to fraud and poor use of limited resources.
- The systemic deficiencies that are present at VEDP demonstrate the need for an effective, engaged, and informed board of directors.
- VEDP lacks fundamental elements of organizational management to ensure efficient and effective operations.
- Key customers indicate that VEDP is responsive to information requests but not effective at promoting awareness of Virginia and its competitive advantages.
- VEDP has not taken basic steps to ensure it is effectively and efficiently marketing Virginia.
- Many incentivized projects do not meet their contractual performance requirements.
- VEDP has not recouped grant money from businesses that did not meet their performance requirements.
- VEDP’s unstructured approach to administering incentive grants leaves the state vulnerable to fraud and poor use of limited resources.
- VEDP and localities have approved longer performance extensions than allowed by statute.
- VEDP’s board has played a minimal role in holding VEDP staff accountable.