Governor Bentley appoints new head of Development Office

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Governor Robert Bentley has appointed State Rep. Greg Canfield of Vestavia Hills as the new director of the Alabama Development Office.  Seth Hammett is leaving after six months on the job.  Hammett said his appointment was only temporary.

Gov. Bentley said Canfield made a long-term commitment to stay in the position, providing some much need stability.

"We need to create jobs in Alabama and the people outside the state as well in the state need to know who they're dealing with," the Governor said.

Canfield, who has worked in the insurance industry for the past few years, said the job of recruiting industry is a team effort.

"I think we've built a strong legacy in Alabama as a state that's very proactive and very actively involved in recruiting industries," Canfield said.  'What we've suffered from in the last couple of years in the general downturn in the economy."

For the past six months, the point person has been Seth Hammett.  In the time he has held the position, there have been numerous job announcements including in Troy, Alexander City and Montgomery.

"People know when they come here, they have a long term lasting relationship with both state and local government," Hammett said.

Despite the success stories, some groups wonder if state leaders are giving too much away when it comes to recruiting industry.

Jim Carnes with Alabama Arise says generous tax incentives take away much needed revenue that would go to education.

"When we consider how we go about recruiting industries, what's the value we're getting in relation to what we're sacrificing in education," said Jim Carnes, communications director for Alabama Arise.

But Hammett and other state leaders defended the incentives saying the jobs they bring in are worth it.  The job of recruiting now falls to Canfield, who begins his new position by August 1st.

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