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West Virginia Economic Development Reorganized

February 21, 2005

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin signed last week legislation establishing the Department of Commerce and streamlining the support operations for the state’s economic development efforts. Senate Bill 1002, approved during the recent special session of the West Virginia Legislature, renamed the Bureau of Commerce the Department of Commerce. The bill encompasses all of the divisions, offices, boards and commissions under the former Bureau, with the exception of the Water Development Authority and Economic Development Authority – two agencies that become independent.

S.B. 1002 also establishes the governor as chairman and board member for seven agencies: the Economic Development Authority, the Public Energy Authority, the Water Development Authority, the Jobs Investment Trust, the Infrastructure Council, the Housing Development Authority and the School Building Authority.

With the reorganization, the Council for Community and Economic Development, which provided oversight for the West Virginia Development Office, becomes an advisory board. The executive director of the Development Office, appointed by the governor, assumes the oversight duties formerly exercised by the Council.

In a related move, the council named Steve Spence to serve as interim director of the West Virginia Development Office, following the resignation of David Satterfield.

West Virginia