Section 3J. (a) The Massachusetts office of business development shall partner with regional economic development organizations to establish a plan for business development which supports regionally-based efforts to grow and retain existing businesses and attract new business to the commonwealth. To implement the business development plan and to provide efficient and consistent response to businesses seeking assistance from the commonwealth, the office shall create a regional economic development program in order to provide efficient and consistent response to businesses seeking assistance from the commonwealth. To implement the program the office shall contract with eligible regional economic development organizations, as defined in section 3K, which shall serve as the primary points of contact in the various regions of the state for businesses seeking assistance, services or information from the commonwealth. The contracts and reimbursements shall be designed to support regionally-based efforts to stimulate, encourage, facilitate and nurture economic growth and prosperity in the commonwealth, including, but not limited to, activities related to the growth and retention of existing businesses and the attraction of new businesses into the commonwealth. The contracts shall support a network of partnerships between regional economic development organizations and the Massachusetts office of business development.
The Massachusetts office of business development shall locate staff throughout the regions of the commonwealth in order to establish efficient and rapid access to all state government and quasi-public business services. The Massachusetts office of business development shall provide information to the regional economic development organizations about state economic development, business assistance, capital access and incentive programs, marketing activities and programs offered by agencies, authorities and private entities.
(b) Each contract shall include performance criteria specific to the contracting organization developed under section 16G of chapter 6A and uniform standards for the use of contract funds related to accounting procedures, personnel practices, purchasing procedures and conflict of interest rules. As a condition to its receipt of funds, the contracting organization shall agree to follow these standards and to perform the contracted services in conformity with conflict of interest rules which shall include provisions requiring that in any matter in which a person, corporation or other business entity in which any partner is in any way interested, such interest shall be disclosed in advance and that no partner having such an interest may participate in a decision relating to such person, corporation or other business entity. The contracting organization shall also agree to a biennial audit and examination of its audited financial statements conducted by the auditor of the commonwealth.
(c) The Massachusetts office of business development shall establish standard governance provisions to be required of regional economic development organizations that contract with the commonwealth as provided in this section. The standards shall include the participation of local government officials and a broad range of regional representatives of businesses, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, planning professionals, organizations and economic and workforce development professionals.