Ricky Diaz, the young former McCrory campaign staffer, is leaving his position as head of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ communications director.
Diaz received a $22,500 raise when he went to work for the state agency after leaving the governor’s press office and the 24-year-old’s $85,000 salary (which was first reported by N.C .Policy Watch) and questions about his qualifications became a frequent topic of criticism lodged at the McCrory administration.
The agency has been in the media spotlight frequently this year with the botched launches of two public benefits systems, NC TRACKS and NC FAST, which led to major delays in payment for Medicaid services and prevented many from receiving their federally-funded food stamps.
He is leaving to work for a private Washington, D.C.-based political consultanting firm FP1, and a press release from the agency says he will join the small firm as a vice-president in February.
“FP1 has assembled a strong team of some of the most talented and accomplished operatives in politics, and I am excited to join such a distinguished firm,” Diaz is quoted as saying in the FP1 press release. “I look forward to working with the team to help develop winning ad campaigns for FP1?s clients.”
His resignation comes as DHHS deals with another public relations mishap, after nearly 50,000 Medicaid cards with the private medical information of children were sent to the wrong households.