Archives

Uncategorized

Note: This post has been changed from its original form to reflect a correction. Scroll down for more information.

It’s hard to keep up with all the stories being written about the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the many questions being raised about the experience and pay for Secretary Aldona Wos’ recent hires.

Here’s the recap of stories that were flying around yesterday.

DHHS Sec. Aldona Wos

DHHS Sec. Aldona Wos

The big story of the week has been Wos’ hire of a relatively inexperienced former Tea Party activist to serve as an adviser, despite little background in health care and policy other than serving as a lecturer at East Carolina University in the late 1990s.  (read more in this story from Raleigh TV station WRAL) Margaret “Mardy” Peal, who donated $1,250 to the McCrory campaign, has been out of the workforce for much of the last decade and was active in the Greenville area Tea Party gatherings and also is a past board member of the Carolina Pregnancy Center, an anti-abortion ministry group. She is joining the state agency as it prepares to make new rules for abortion clinics in the state.

She’ll make $95,000 a year, well above the $45,000 to $74,000 range the job normally has.

(Note: McCrory said Wednesday he wasn’t involved in Peal’s hiring.)

The News & Observer also reported Peal wrote on an Internet site that she wanted to move out of the United States in 2008 because of concerns about the country’s direction and a “socialized [healthcare] system in which folks who move outside the system are punished.”

Read More

Uncategorized

This letter to the editor from today’s News and Observer was particularly compelling to me:

DHHS a mess

Public health in N.C. has been my life for 30 years, resulting in an award of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. My retirement has not stopped my continued care, concern and work on behalf of public health in this wonderful state that has always been my home.

The problem started when Gov. Pat McCrory lost the best, most exciting director of public health we have had in years: Dr. Laura Gerald. Now, DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos has fired Dr. Rebecca King from her job leading the department’s oral health division in a cheap and pathetic power play. King served this state with intelligence, integrity and devotion for years. King and Dr. Jean Spratt were powerful leaders – by example.

The shocking and exorbitant payments that Wos arranged as compensation in consulting fees for an employee of her husband’s firm – a blatant and unethical conflict of interest – would have paid the annual salaries of most of the doctors and dental hygienists who were recently terminated from our health programs.

Something is very wrong. I encourage the legislature and you to dig as deeply as possible to find the truth and restore integrity and true care to N.C. public health.

BECKY S. BOWDEN, DURHAM

 

Uncategorized

Public Policy PollingThere’s been a fair amount of buzz about Gov. McCrory’s plummeting poll numbers of late. As Under the Dome noted this morning, Public Policy Polling finds that the approval rate is now all the way down to 35%.

There’s been less reporting, however, about some interesting issue-based results in the new PPP poll. As Kevin Rogers of Action NC tweeted this morning, the poll finds, among other things, strong (better than two-to-one)  support for raising the minimum wage to $10/hr. It also finds overwhelming opposition to the salaries bestowed upon Gov. McCrory’s former campaign staffers (8% “For,” 73% “Against”) and plurality opposition of 39% to 34% to a new casino in Cleveland County.

Read all the results by clicking here.

Uncategorized

N.C. Health and Human Services Sec. Aldona Wos may be feeling the heat over the statewide scrutiny of high salaries given to top employees.

The department sent out an infographic today in a press release highlighting what DHHS sees as its top accomplishments. This came a few days after Wos sent a letter to several legislators defending her performance running the state’s largest agency.

The press release sent Wednesday was light on specifics, with no links to where the facts and figured were pulled from. I’ve asked DHHS for the back-up data used for the infographics and will update this post if and when I hear back.

 

Infographic from N.C. DHHS of 2013 successes.

Source: N.C. Dep’t Health and Human Services

Read More

Uncategorized

Veteran State Government Radio journalist and commentator Barlow Herget is getting tired of writing about Gov. Pat McCrory’s gaffes, but as he notes in this morning’s column — see below — the foul ups just keep on coming.

Bad fix

It’s not funny anymore.

Governor Pat McCrory has entertained the North Carolina public this summer with a series of mistakes that invited humor and jokes as well as ridicule.  The blunders were funny because they were glaring acts of hypocrisy or obliviousness.

He stepped in a bucket passing out cookies to female pro-choice protesters.

This, right after he signed a much more restrictive anti-abortion law, breaking a campaign promise not to do so.

He said there was no money in the budget for a pay raise for teachers and state employees and then the news broke on his big pay increases for some young, inexperienced political appointees in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The latest scandal involves two more big salaries.  Read More