Defending Democracy, News

Cooper invites public to help with appointment process after GA complaints about no transparency

Republican legislators have spent a lot of time defending their power grabs by pointing out the lack of transparency involved in gubernatorial appointments. Gov. Roy Cooper is trying to change that.

He announced last week a new web portal for North Carolina boards and commissions to streamline the application process for people who wish to serve and provide more information to the public.

“I want to encourage talented, qualified North Carolinians from all 100 counties and all backgrounds to serve on boards and commissions that shape the quality of life in our state,” he said in a news release. “North Carolinians can use this new tool to learn more about the work of state boards, as well as to apply or nominate someone to serve.”

The site, which is already up, features profiles of state boards and commissions, a list of recent appointments, current openings, member resources and portals to submit applications and recommendations for appointees. It’s the first online portal for gubernatorial appointments to Boards and Commissions in the state’s history, and the first time in 17 years that the system has been updated to provide a more open and streamlined process.

The Governor’s Office oversees over 2,400 appointments to more than 350 boards and commissions that represent a broad range of areas and issues for North Carolina. More than 600 appointments expire each year, and those vacancies are filled on a rolling basis throughout the year.

One of the constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot in November would transfer appointment power from the Governor and give it to the legislature.

Another constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot also transfers the Governor’s judicial vacancy appointment power to the General Assembly.

Rep. Justin Burr (R-Montgomery, Stanly) said during the short session that lawmakers wanted to bring sunshine to the appointment processes.

“Currently, many of these vacancies are filled in secret behind the iron fence of the Governor’s mansion with no involvement from the public whatsoever, and I have had a problem with that for years,” he said at the time.

Other lawmakers have expressed a similar sentiment — hence the constitutional amendments — though it may be more difficult now that Cooper brought in a little of his own sunshine.

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