The Winston-Salem Journal pulls no punches in this editorial this morning that criticizes legislative plans to dramatically expand Governor McCrory’s ability to use Chicago-style patronage hiring:
A governor, when taking office, deserves the right to put his or her own people in jobs when those jobs are assigned policy-making duties. To deny the governor that power would deny the governor the ability to govern.
But only a small number of state workers make policy. Most state workers don’t; for sure, there aren’t 1,500 state employees who make policy decisions. With the exception of a few hundred policymakers, state employees carry out the policies designed by their superiors. So McCrory only needs 1,500 political patronage jobs if he’s planning to fill state employee ranks with his political cronies.
What makes all this the more offensive and ironic, of course, Read More…
The good people at the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children just released this statement on the Berger budget plan:
Senate budget short-changes NC’s children
Budget would cut funding for early education and K-12 schools and remove cap on class size
RALEIGH – Late Sunday night, Senate budget writers released their 2014-15 budget proposal, which includes deep cuts to education, early care and infant mortality prevention.
“This budget continues the ongoing deterioration of our public school system,” stated Rob Thompson, Executive Director of the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children. “If the Senate is serious about improving student outcomes, then underfunding schools and removing the cap on class size are the last things it should do.”
Now that the legislature’s “crossover” deadline has passed, committees are beginning to schedule bills that have already passed one house. A case in point: the hyper-controversial bill to reverse the Dix Park land deal between the state and the city of Raleigh.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary committee 15 minutes after the House adjourns this Wednesday. Looks like the House isn’t expecting that vague bit of public notice to keep interested people away. The notice says that “This meeting may last up to 2 hours.”
The leaders of the North Carolina Senate announced their plan to pass a state budget bill this week. Note that I didn’t say a plan to “debate” the budget bill or “gather input” on the budget bill, “hold hearings” on the budget bill or, God forbid, “listen to the public” on the budget bill.
No, what the Senate announced was that the largest, most important bill of the year will be voted on four days after it was first seen late last night. And public input? To paraphrase the Senate leaders: “We don’t need stinkin’ public input!”
Mind you, this is a 413 page bill that deals with myriad topics. It is incredibly complicated and important to our state’s future. And how was it put together? Well no one knows; it was all done in secret.
What we do know is that it will be quickly reviewed in subcommittees this afternoon, passed by the full Appropriations Committee tomorrow and then passed by the full Senate on Wednesday and Thursday. Democrats will probably get to run a few amendments that will either be voted down on party-line votes or ruled out of order.
How’s that for democracy in action? As with so many areas, the folks running the legislature who used to complain mightily when they were in the minority, have now taken secrecy and lack of process to new levels that would have made their predecessors blush.