Archives

Pat McCrory 2Gov. McCrory, who’s taken some heat during past forays onto Facebook, will try it again this afternoon. According to the Guv’s Facebook page, he will participate in an online Q&A session this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. Apparently, the Guv will participate in the event from Facebook’s California headquarters, where he is visiting today.

Should be interesting to see if many of the 51% of North Carolinians who disapprove of his job performance get a chance to speak up and be heard.  Maybe the Guv will even shed some new light on salary-gate and the controversies in his Department of Health and Human Services. Tune in if you get a chance.

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.”

Read More

The $37,000 paid out to N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos’ chief of staff may be in violation of the state constitution which bars any public employees from receiving money for anything but “public service,” according to a report from a Raleigh television station.

ThomasAdamsWRAL had this report Thursday about the questionable legality of the $37,000 payment to Thomas Adams, Wos’ chief of staff who worked only a month before leaving his state job.

N.C. Policy Watch was the first to uncover details about Adam’s settlement (click here), which Wos later called a “separation” agreement in a legislative hearing last week, and obtained records of the settlement through a public records request.

Read More

Health and Human Services Sec. Aldona Wos has a busy day planned for tomorrow, with back-to-back meetings with lawmakers who want to ask her about issues that have earned her, and her department, plenty of criticism and negative attention in recent months.

Below are the agendas for the two legislative oversight meetings. The first deals with the technology issues the department had with its troubled food stamp delivery system (NC FAST) and Medicaid payment billing system (NC TRACKS.) (Read these Associated Press stories on the food stamp and Medicaid billing problems for background.)

The afternoon meeting, beginning at 1 p.m., will dig into the $22,500 and $23,000 raises she gave to two 24-year-old members of her staff and high-dollar personal contracts that have awarded at DHHS. It’s likely Wos will be asked as well about a $37,000 severance settlement that she made with her former chief of staff Tom Adams,  who only worked for a month in the political-appointment job.

The agendas are below, and audio of the afternoon hearing will be broadcast here. It’s likely that WRAL or other media will have live steaming of the meeting as well. We’ll update this post once we find out.

Morning agenda:

DHHSleg2 by NC Policy Watch

Afternoon agenda:

 

DHHSleg1 by NC Policy Watch

 

The Henderson Daily Dispatch has called for the resignation of North Carolina Health and Human Services Director Aldona Wos. According to the editorial dated yesterday entitled: Wos must immediately resign post:

“Aldona Wos must immediately resign her position as the secretary of our state’s Department of Health and Human Services. If she does not, Gov. Pat McCrory has to make the decision for her.

Wos helped raise money for McCrory’s gubernatorial campaign last fall. Her department’s hires are foul-smelling of campaign worker exchanges. The governor’s campaign against a corrupt culture in Raleigh has long left the station.

Allowing her to continue disables McCrory’s integrity while she digs a deeper hole.

Wos is responsible for a department with nearly 18,000 employees spread in 30 divisions and offices, 14 facilities and a budget of $18.3 billion. She took the job for $1 in annual salary. Everybody, whether qualified or not, with connections to her is raking in the dollars.

State leaders have tightened the grip on money, particularly for the unemployed and the education system. Free spending by Wos’ department cripples any sense of balance in McCrory’s governance.

Our confidence in Wos is irrevocably broken.”

After listing her numerous foul-ups, the editorial concludes this way:

“Until Wos is gone, the cycle will repeat.

And North Carolina can’t endure any more of her egregious and reckless actions.”

Click here to read the rest of the editorial (the site may require you to register, but it’s free).