No shake-up of agency planned despite 38 Studios loan debacle

Governor Lincoln Chafee said improving Rhode Island’s economic development efforts is a key priority for the coming year, but success will have more to do with vision and less about rearranging government bureaucracy. The independent governor said that’s why he is recommending no big changes to the structure of the Economic Development Corp., the agency that approved a $75 million loan guarantee for former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s failed video game company, 38 Studios. The agency was sharply criticized following the company’s collapse, and some observers have called for changes ranging from a renamed and rebranded agency to a cabinet-level secretary of commerce. But Chafee said consistent priorities at the agency are more important than its structure. He tapped its deputy director, William Parsons, to be executive director. Parsons has spent 37 years working on economic development initiatives for the state and has handled day-to-day operations at the agency since May, when executive director Keith Stokes resigned following questions about the 38 Studios debacle.