Despite Mounting Evidence, McCrory Digs In, Defends DHHS, and Suggests Public Salaries Deserve Secrecy

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RALEIGH—In a startling press conference yesterday, Gov. Pat McCrory defended the Department of Health and Human Services and the leadership of Secretary Aldona Wos. Progress NC Action is amazed that McCrory continues to defend the agency despite mounting evidence of cronyism within the department. McCrory, of course, campaigned as someone who would put an end to cronyism and corruption in state government.

McCrory went so far as to suggest that scrutiny of public officials’ salaries was a breach of privacy. Instead, we should all be flabbergasted by the Governor’s disregard for transparency and suggestion that public salaries should not be… public.

The reality is that Gov. McCrory simply doesn’t like having his dirty laundry aired in public.  To recall:

- Two 24-year-old former campaign staffers received 30% pay increases and now make more than $85,000 each. Sec. Wos also gave her personal secretary a 30% raise.

- Sec. Wos handed out a $300,000 personal services contract to her husband’s employee.

- Sec. Wos. rewarded a McCrory Tea Party loyalist with a $95,000 salary for a position to help privatize Medicaid.

McCrory said: “I am concerned that the line is being moved continually about the intrusion into people’s private lives.” No, the line on public disclosure of public salaries has not moved at all.  The Governor has simply, grossly crossed the line of cronyism and hypocrisy.  And he refuses to admit it.  McCrory’s typical excuse for rewarding loyalists with high salaries is that he is looking for talent, not experience.  But repeatedly, DHHS cannot show any application process or real talent search for jobs which have not been publicly posted.

McCrory even tried to distance himself from the hiring decisions. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, McCrory told reporters he can’t micromanage his cabinet secretaries. But this DHHS memo from March 12th clearly states that hiring for exempt positions must be approved by the Governor’s Office.

“McCrory is full of excuses for his bad poll numbers and mismanagement of state government,” said Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC Action. “But the first step is admitting you have a problem. Gov. McCrory, you have a cronyism problem, and you need to admit it. Then you can clean up the mess at DHHS.”

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