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Aldona WosThere’s new word today that state DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and her staff continue to display a laser-like focus on one of the key challenges facing her multi-billion dollar state agency: business letter formatting.

In an apparent follow-up to April’s three-page directive that spelled out how DHHS employees should sign their names on emails and threatened discipline for those failing to comply, one of Wos’ employees in the Division of Medical Assistance distributed a detailed memo yesterday on the proper way to format business letters. It specified that letters should feature the following:

“*Times New Roman 11 point font
*Date centered on the second line of the letterhead
*Address, greeting and paragraphs should be justified left, block style Read More

It’s been a week since we first reported on the $80,000 salaries that two 24-year-old former McCrory campaign workers are making in top jobs in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ricky Diaz, DHHS’ communication director, makes $85,000 a year after receiving a 37 percent pay increase in April when he transferred over from the governor’s press office. Matt McKillip serves as N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ chief policy officer and makes $87,500 after getting a $22,500 pay raise in April.

Source: DHHS employee newsletter

Source: DHHS employee newsletter

Their raises came a month after Gov. Pat McCrory had given state departments a directive to watch their expenses and freeze salary increases. On Friday, House Minority Leader Larry Hall, a Democrat, called on Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, for a legislative investigation into the raises.

McCrory has defended his former campaign workers’ raises, telling reporters that the young staffers are qualified and were being paid the standard salaries for those positions.

“They got promotions,” McCrory told WNCN in an interview last week. “They were actually moved over to areas that frankly a lot of older people applied for, too. But frankly, these two young people are very well qualified and they are being paid for jobs at which that’s the pay rate for that job.”

DHHS chief policy advisor Matthew McKillip Source: LinkedIn

DHHS chief policy advisor Matthew McKillip
Source: LinkedIn

McKillip, as we reported here, was also involved with Wos’ much-criticized hire of Dianna Lightfoot to head the state’s early education and child development section. Lightfoot had advocated against pre-school educations in her past and had made controversial statements on social media.

Since last week, a lot of other media in the state have jumped in and pointed out other high salaries and multi-thousand dollar raises since McCrory took office.

Here’s a recap of some of what’s been reported.

Read More

Lest you think the drumbeat of criticism about the absurd salaries being paid by HHS Secretary Aldona Wos to two young graduates of the McCrory campaign is a partisan or ideological matter, check out this recent exchange between John Hood of the Locke Foundation and conservative Raleigh radio host Bill LuMaye that took place on Monday afternoon.

After being asked his views on “salary-gate,” Hood said that both Matthew McKillip and Ricky Diaz were “very promising” “young men” whom he would consider hiring at the Locke Foundation if given the opportunity, but that he would never consider hiring them at anywhere near the salaries being paid to them by Wos:

“I would not hire them at salaries in the 80,000 range. It would be, you know, less than half that amount. And I just cannot imagine a justification for this decision — not just on the merits but also the political optics.”

He then went on to question the administration’s ongoing attempts to defend the salaries:  Read More

The disturbing DHHS salary story continues to spin like an out-of-control washing machine, flinging dirty laundry far and wide. Recent media highlights/lowlights include:

Raleigh’s N&O reported this morning that the young staffers at the center of the controversy are making salaries comparable to their predecessors in the Perdue administration, but that the Perdue people had significantly more experience.

Meanwhile, a Wilmington Star-News editorial criticized the McCrory administration with respect to several aspects of the story.

Also, in case you missed it, WNCN (NBC 17) in Raleigh reported that it tried to interview Secretary Aldona Wos in Greenville on Friday about the issue. The story that resulted included this rather remarkable conclusion: Read More