McCrory office on $ 22,000 DHHS raises: No comment (to us), defends salaries to TV station (with update)
Yesterday, we posted this piece about two young staffers at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services who received $22,500 and $23,000 raises after working just a few months in state government.
Matthew McKillip, DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos’ chief policy officer, is now making $87,500 (a 35 percent bump in pay) and Ricky Diaz, the DHHS communications director, earns $85,000 a year after a 37 percent pay increase.
Both are 24 and worked on McCrory’s campaign and transition teams before coming to DHHS. Click here to read the original post.
We called McCrory’s office for a response and were told today the governor’s office wouldn’t be commenting.
UPDATE: It appears McCrory did speak with WNCN, a Raleigh TV news station on Thursday afternoon. He defended the raises as the results of promotions, and said he’d like to give teachers raises too.
From their article:
“[Diaz] was in my office as a communications person, working as a lower level communications person in the governor’s office,” McCrory said Thursday. “My Health and Human Services Secretary [Aldona Wos] was so impressed with him, she wanted him to move to Health and Human Services and head up that whole process.”
The 35 and 37 percent pay increases come at a time when most other state employees, like public school teachers, received no raise at all in the state’s new two-year budget.
When pressed on the issue of teacher pay, he added, “I want teachers to make a lot more. I want teachers to make what TV anchors get paid too.”
McCrory instructed state departments to freeze pay increases in a March memorandum, citing a Medicaid shortfall as the reason why state agencies needed to be conservative with their spending. He did propose a 1 percent pay increase for state workers in his budget, but lawmakers opted not to include that in the final budget.
“It is time to solve this mess, not kick the can down the road and manipulate the budget as was done in the past,” McCrory was quoted as saying in a March 8 press release from his office. “It stops now.”
The press release went on to describe how McCrory “directed state agencies to hold salary increases, limit purchases and reduce travel to cover the state’s Medicaid liabilities.”
Calls placed to Diaz yesterday morning seeking comment about the raises have not been returned.
Link to photo here.