New DHHS Early Ed director called Hillary Clinton “butch”

UPDATE: Dianna Lightfoot resigned on Thursday morning, two days after appointment. Read more here.

The state’s new head of early education programs referred to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “butch” in a Twitter post about female members of the Obama Administration.

Dianna Lightfoot, under the Twitter handle @chinalight44, sent the tweet in July 2011 in response to another Twitter user who was critical of GOP politicians U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Lightfoot volunteered as an adviser for Bachmann’s presidential campaign, according to Lightfoot’s LinkedIn page.

“Between hillary and the other butch bunch obama anointed (sic) it’s great to finally see 2 with intelligence depth and femininity,” Lightfoot tweeted.

“Butch” is a term that can be used in a derogatory sense against lesbian women.

Lightfoot Tweet

Lightfoot did not respond to two calls for comment left on her cell phone this afternoon.

The Twitter profile for Lightfoot identifies her as a “Public Policy Executive; recruits, organizes, manages medical and child welfare experts to respond to policy and legislation. NC and CA.”

Lightfoot has also served as the president since 2001 of the National Physicans Center for Family Resources, a small non-profit that had less than $20,000 in funding last year and has lobbied nationally on abstinence and early education issues. Her new DHHS position puts her in charge of the state’s SmartStart program, which is recognized nationally for its work helping low-income families.

“Encouraging parents to entrust their children to an institution may result in some being less responsible and reliable,” wrote Lightfoot and two doctors in the National Physicians Center policy argument against early-childhood education.  “In the long run, there is great potential for early learning institutions to foster more dependency on the government (i.e. taxpayer) and more of an entitlement mentality.

The group’s policy page, which advocates children being taught in the home in their early years, also cited a 1997 poll from the fashion magazine Glamour stating that 88 percent of women would work from home if they could afford it.

She’s scheduled to begin work next Monday with an annual salary of $110,000.

Update: Lightfoot’s Twitter account was deactivated shortly after this post was published.

UPDATE 2: DHHS spokeswoman Julie Henry released this statement Wednesday evening regarding Lightfoot:

“Ms. Lightfoot was selected for this position because she has extensive expertise in healthcare, child welfare and education.  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is committed to outcomes-based, effective and quality early childhood programs and Ms. Lightfoot will work closely with the Secretary to carry out the department’s mission to protect the health and well being of all people, especially young children.”


Dress-down Fridays and jeans get booted at DHHS (with update)

UPDATE (4:52 p.m.): The dress code issued Monday was rescinded because Wos hadn’t approved the policy, according to Julie Henry, DHHS’ communications director.

UPDATE (2:56 p.m.):  The new DHHS dress code issued by the agency Monday may be recalled Wednesday afternoon because Wos hadn’t signed off on the policy, according to an email from human resources staff sent to DHHS employees. (A copy of the email was obtained by N.C. Policy Watch.) We’ve got calls in to DHHS to find out more about the situation, and will update this post as we hear more.


N.C. DHHS Sec. Aldona Wos

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, in what appears to be one of the first big directives for newly-appointed Secretary Aldona Wos, has a dress code at last, with unkempt appearances at the workplace not to be tolerated.

The new dress code (click here to see) was announced on Monday, and requires daily bathing and grooming, among other things. Gone are dress-down Fridays.

The 17,000-plus state agency previously hadn’t had a department-wide dress code, according to Julie Henry, a spokeswoman for the department.

Male managers and executives need to wear suits with Oxford-style collar dress shirts, with female directors required to wear slacks or skirts. Other employees are given a bit more leeway, with polo shirts for men allowed and women permitted to wear dress capris (as long as they are mid-calf or longer.)

On the “What not to Wear” list (no word if Clinton and Stacy of the similary-named TLC show were consulted) are leggings, pants below the waist, denim, “underwear as outerwear,” evening wear and sunglasses, unless there’s a documented medical reason to wear shades.

Nixed were proposals made in earlier drafts to keep skirts within an inch of a woman’s knee, draft documents of the dress code show. Read more