Commentary

Conservative hypocrisy front and center again on issue of state employees and job tenure

This morning’s big story in Raleigh’s News & Observer concerns the actions of Pat McCrory to make hundreds of political appointees into career state employees right before he left office.

This is from reporter Colin Campbell’s story, “Before leaving office, McCrory protected 908 state jobs from political firings”:

  • After McCrory took office in 2013 as the first Republican governor in decades, the legislature raised the number of positions the governor had the power to exempt to 1,500.
  • McCrory didn’t use all of those slots. At the beginning of last November, he had classified 1,212 jobs as exempt from the protections.
  • As part of a series of moves in December to reduce Cooper’s appointment powers, the Republican-dominated legislature lowered the maximum to 425 positions.
  • By the end of December, McCrory had changed 908 jobs to give them Personnel Act protections. Of those, 105 positions were vacant and 803 had employees who gained the protections. McCrory’s administration had hired 124 of the affected employees, while 679 had been working in state government before McCrory took office in 2013, according to the Office of State Human Resources.

On of the greatest ironies in this development, of course, is that conservatives have long crusaded against protected career status for workers (i.e. the right to be fired only for “good cause”) — be they educators seeking “tenure” or private sector employees combating the doctrine of “employment at will.” Here’s the Pope-Civitas Institute commenting on a so-called education reform bill passed by the General Assembly a few years’ back:

“While this legislation was important, the most significant provision to improve teacher quality was approval of legislation to eliminate teacher career status”

Funny isn’t it, how those same groups are now utterly silent about the actions of a conservative governor to provide similar protections to hundreds of favored state employees — at least one of whom was, according to the N&O, you guessed it, a former Civitas employee.

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