Greenwood Partnership Alliance

After spearheading economic development in Greenwood for more than two decades, the Greenwood Partnership Alliance will officially dissolve after a unanimous vote Thursday afternoon.

The process began in August when GPA’s board of directors voted to begin the dissolution process after Greenwood County and several other investors pulled out of the alliance or were poised to reconsider their involvement.

County officials cited a lack of accountability of then-CEO Heather Simmons Jones, along with disparaging comments about county council, in their May vote to pull out and take $300,000 in investment with them. Jones resigned the following month, saying she did so to prevent staff layoffs and help make up for lost revenue. Other investors followed the county’s decision to pull out of the alliance, including Piedmont Technical College, FUJIFILM and Duke Energy.

Thursday’s unanimous vote was to file the necessary paperwork with the state Secretary of State’s office to dissolve no later than Dec. 31. GPA’s remaining assets will be distributed to the Foundation for a Greater Greenwood County, a nonprofit set up to support the GPA.

“In its final meeting the board of directors would like to recognize that the last 20 years of the existence of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance has resulted in the greatest economic growth in Greenwood County’s history,” said board member Bob Haynie, “and that all the investors, employees and others associated with this effort should be recognized and appreciated by the people of Greenwood County.”

In a nearly 50-minute closed-door session Thursday, the board members discussed the recommendations from the ad hoc committee tasked with creating a plan for the dissolution. According to that plan, all employees were terminated no later than Sept. 30, each signed a waiver of claims and was provided severance pay ranging from two to four weeks.

The ad hoc committee found a tenant to assume the lease for the partnership alliance’s space in the Greenwood Building, deactivated the partnership’s website and paid off various accounts the alliance held with a number of companies, with plans to pay off remaining accounts upon receiving the final bills.

The dissolution plan included details on how to deal with automobiles, computers, TVs and furniture. Any remaining assets after dissolution, the plan said, will go to the Foundation for a Greater Greenwood County, which was made a stand-alone organization.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.