Crystal Sircy, the chief operating officer of Enterprise Florida (EFI), the state’s public-private economic development agency, is leaving to join the Orlando Economic Development Commission as its new executive vice president.
Sircy, who has been with EFI since 1997, announced her resignation in an email to “stakeholders” last Thursday that was provided to FloridaPolitics.com on Monday.
“I am so proud of the work we have done together to expand and diversify the state’s economy through job creation,” she said. “I am honored to have been a part of this team and thank you for being great partners.”
Her move comes as lawmakers gird for a fight this upcoming session that could lead to the agency’s demise. It acts as a conduit for economic incentives to lure companies and jobs to the Sunshine State.
State Sen. Jack Latvala, in line to become Appropriations chairman under Senate President Joe Negron, said he will support money in the state budget for business incentives. This year, Latvala championed Gov. Rick Scott‘s request for a $250 million business incentive fund that ultimately died by session’s end.
On the other side is House Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran, a bitter opponent of business incentives, or what he calls “corporate welfare.” When recently asked whether he would back disbanding the organization, he said: “I think that’s definitely a discussion that’s going to take place this coming session.”
Sircy said she still believes in the agency’s mission.
“Like you, I believe economic development is vital to our state’s resilience and prosperity,” she said in her email. “I want to assure you that Enterprise Florida is in good hands. The organization has the support of the governor and is led by a board of directors comprised of professionals highly respected across the state.”
Enterprise Florida has been without a leader since former CEO Bill Johnson stepped down in late June. The process to hire a new agency head was stalled by Hurricane Matthew.