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Still more wackiness at DHHS

Aldona Wos [1]There’s new word today that state DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and her staff continue to display a laser-like focus on one of the key challenges facing her multi-billion dollar state agency: business letter formatting.

In an apparent follow-up to April’s three-page directive [2] that spelled out how DHHS employees should sign their names on emails and threatened discipline for those failing to comply, one of Wos’ employees in the Division of Medical Assistance distributed a detailed memo yesterday on the proper way to format business letters. It specified that letters should feature the following:

“*Times New Roman 11 point font
*Date centered on the second line of the letterhead
*Address, greeting and paragraphs should be justified left, block style
*In the address please use appropriate titles when applicable
*After the greeting please use a colon
*No subject line, the introductory paragraph should state your reason for the letter and the referral source
*Keep in mind to whom you are addressing and the letter is written in a comprehensive manner
*No abbreviations
*Please make sure in the closing paragraph there is a contact name and direct phone number provided
*The closing and signature line should be centered”

This is clearly big news and could be the source of new and enormous controversy in the NCDHHS — sorry, I mean the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Here’s why: the April directive [3] specified that employees were to use Arial font. The new letter calls for the use of Times New Roman

Could this signify a major policy shift within the Department? Is Secretary Wos sending a message to her employees that she’s decided to slow the pace of reform by returning to the use of a more traditional font? Or is this new directive coming from the Governor’s mansion? The Speaker’s office? Art Pope?

Here’s another juicy possibility: What if the new directive is the work of a division gone rogue? What if DMA — sorry, I mean the Division of Medical Assistance — has done this without approval from Wos or her top aides Ricky Diaz and Matthew McKillip [4]?! If the latter is the case, this could be a prelude to a major bloodletting at the Department. 

Or maybe just a new spate of pay raises. State records show that the author of the new memo is paid less than half of what Diaz and McKillip make (i.e., about what a public school teacher with 15 years’ experience pulls in). Maybe the author figures that memos like this are the way to make a name for oneself and to climb the ladder of success in the Wos administration.   

Whichever the case, it’s good to know that these folks are really continuing to keep their focus on what matters most to the citizens they serve.