Local/State

Perdue appoints Benton to oversee stimulus money

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Governor Beverly Perdue announced Tuesday that Dempsey Benton, the former secretary of the state Health and Human Services Department, will lead the state new Office of Economic Recovery & Investment and provide accountability for use of N.C.'s stimulus money.

The Office of Economic Recovery & Investment is temporary and will coordinate and monitor stimuls fund spending in the state.

"This money and these programs must be put to use quickly and effectively to create jobs, provide important services and get our economy moving again," Perdue said in the news release. "Dempsey Benton brings the skill and experience to oversee this important effort. He will bring the transparency and accountability to this office that our citizens expect."

The federal stimulus package, which President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law today, provides about $6.1 billion in direct aid to North Carolina to create jobs and rebuild and expand our state's critical infrastructure, including highways and schools.

According to information released by the White House, the stimulus will create or save 105,000 jobs statewide and more than 10,000 jobs in the Triangle.

Perdue said the recovery program will also provide tax cuts, grants and funding for specific federal programs in the state.

The temporary office will be assisted by staff in the governor's office and designated representatives from the various state agencies responsible for administering or distributing the federal stimulus funds.

"This stimulus money will help North Carolinians who have been hit by the global economic crisis," Benton said. "I will do all I can to make sure our government works to see them through these troubled times and that citizens know their tax dollars are properly spent."

The Governor's Economic Recovery and Investment Office will:

  • Track all federal dollars flowing into state and local governments as well as to private businesses and non-profit organizations.
  • Maximize the state's use of available federal stimulus funds.
  • Identify the most rapid ways to move the stimulus money into the economy and remove regulatory and other impediments.
  • Establish open and effective lines of communication with federal and state agencies, local governments and North Carolina's Congressional delegation to assist in efforts to effectively and rapidly use the federal stimulus funds.
  • Develop a communications network, using a variety of tools including the Internet, to keep the public informed about the status and progress of the recovery effort, along with funding opportunities.
  • Report to the General Assembly and the citizens on a regular basis about the status of the use of the stimulus funds, including federal, state and other non-federal money.
  • Measure progress of the recovery effort by tracking the state's economic condition.

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