Kenai Peninsula Economic Develop-ment District Director James Carter announced his resignation Friday and will leave to take a position with a bank in Fairbanks.
Carter gave his notice to the EDD board of his intentions to leave late last month and will begin working for Northern Schools Federal Credit Union as vice president of consumer lending.
Carter, who came from a background in banking, said choosing to return after 17 years wasn't easy.
"It was a tough decision for me," he said. "I got out because I didn't want to work for a big corporation. But the credit union in Fairbanks is small. They only have three branches."
The credit union wooed Carter in January, but EDD board president Ran-dy Daly said the board was successful in countering that offer. But after hiring another candidate who proved unsuccessful, Northern Schools returned seeking Carter's services.
"They came back to Jim and sweetened the offer," Daly said. "I guess they made him an offer he couldn't refuse."
Daly noted the EDD would miss Carter's strengths in problem solving and his vast experience with consumer banking.
"We hired him to get this organization on track," Carter said. "And the big thing Jim brought to the table was the commercial lending background. He did improve our revolving loan fund and developed and launched the micro loan fund."
These programs are financial tools that EDD uses to help peninsula start-up companies get off the ground.
Daly said he was certain recent cuts to budget funding from the Kenai Peninsula Borough and impending future cuts played a part in Carter's decision to leave.
"I think it would be hard for anybody not to make that observation," Daly said.
Carter did not confirm Daly's comments but noted the direction the peninsula's economy has taken and where he feels efforts should go to improve.
"The Kenai (Peninsula) right now is in an economic downturn, though people like to call it a transition," Carter said. "We're all working hard to improve the quality of life on the peninsula, but the partnerships are not there. It's unfortunate that we're not working closer together.
"We've done enough planning. We need to put something in action mode."
Carter said he has not sold his home in Nikiski.
"I told the credit union my heart is down here," Carter said. "I said if I was able to get a better opportunity down here, I'd be back."
The search process for Carter's successor began after he gave his notice.
"We've already tried the short list," Carter said. "Now we're going to the long list. It'll probably be a three- to six-month endeavor."
Daly said the the board plans to enter into an agreement with Sal Mattero of Reality Check Consult-ing in Kenai for an executive search.
Clarion reporter Jenni Dillon contributed to this story.
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