State taxpayers will soon be paying for public relations and marketing teams in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, as part of a restructuring announced in a recent agency memorandum.
Ricky Diaz, a 24-year-old former McCrory campaign whose $85,000 salary as DHHS’ communications director sparked controversy this summer, outlined the changes in an Oct. 24 internal memorandum (see below) obtained by N.C. Policy Watch through a public records request.
“Upon arriving at DHHS, I immediately began conducting a review of the Office of Public Affairs and began to examine the overall needs of the Department,” Diaz wrote. “What I have found is that because of the many stakeholder groups and audiences we communicate with on a daily basis, DHHS faces both internal and external communications challenges that are unique to state government.”
The changes will create a one-member press team responsible for responding to media inquiries, as well as a six-person marketing team and a 13-member public relations team. The department headed by Diaz will also be now called the “Office of Communications” instead of the “Office of Public Affairs.”