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Here are some of the important policy matters we’re watching at mid-week:

Wos Watch: Reporters Laura Leslie of WRAL, Joe Neff and Lynn Bonner of the News & Observer have the scoop on the latest wacky hire at the Department of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, Travis Fain of the Greensboro News & Record has compiled a list of what might be termed Aldona’s Greatest Hits (or Misses).

Greed and inequality watch: There’s another report out panning the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.” According to researcher David Rosnick of the Center for Economic Policy Research, most U.S. workers would actually experience a net negative impact from the proposed trade deal that’s currently under negotiation And, of course, you can learn lots more about this critical but underreported story at next Thursday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon with global trade expert Lori Wallach of the group Public Citizen. Some seats still remain – click here for more info.

Greed and inequality watch – Part II: National Common Cause chairperson and veteran economic justice advocate Robert Reich appears to be garnering quite a bit of well-deserved attention for his new flick: “Inequality for All.” You can watch the official trailer here and an extended interview with Jon Stewart here.  

Knuckleheaded bigot watch: Read More

Wos under fireAnother day, another wacky development at North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services. This morning’s news, of course, is the story reported by WRAL.com and Raleigh’s News & Observer that the department has hired yet another ideologue of questionable qualifications at a princely sum to perform vaguely defined duties.

It’s hard to imagine that either Secretary Aldona Wos or her boss Gov. McCrory can withstand many more weeks of the kind of dreadful public attention these amazing decisions continue to precipitate, but at this point, that doesn’t seem to be disssuading either one from the courses they’ve charted.

Stay tuned - it should be a fascinating fall political season.  

 

 

Aldona WosIs anyone else out there starting to get the impression that North Carolina DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos is bit of a…a…how shall I put this?

A control freak?

First, it was the ill-fated dress code edict. Then it was the rather remarkable comment about the “danger” of government transparency.

And now it’s… Signature-gate!

As of next Monday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Servces will apparently have a new, official three-page policy specifying how Department employees will sign their names on emails.

As you can see by clicking here, we are not making this up.

According to the document obtained by NC Policy Watch, as of April 22, DHHS employees must comply with the “DHHS Email Signature policy.” Read More

Over the weekend, the Wilmington StarNews published a pair of competing op-eds on the subject of Gov. McCrory’s Medicaid privatization plan – one by Adam Linker of the N.C. Health Access Coalition and another by HHS Secretary Aldona Vos.  

Unfortunately, the two pieces serve as a kind of microcosm of the first few months of the McCrory administration’s public performance. Read More

Dianna Lightfoot, who resigned before taking a job as the head of the state’s early education and child development division, saw media interest in her online commentary as attacks, according to emails released as part of a public records request.

“Just got a call saying someone had found a Tweet where I termed Hillary Clinton butch,” Lightfoot wrote in a Feb. 6 email to Matthew McKillip, a DHHS policy advisor. “Guess they’re really after me.”

That phone call Lightfoot referenced appears to have been from N.C. Policy Watch, which published this post about one of the more controversial comments Lightfoot made online. Lightfoot, who headed a group that questioned the value of early education, was the subject of several media  stories after the Feb. 5 announcement of her hire. She took down her Twitter feed shortly after the press inquiries.

Dianna Lightfoot

Dianna Lightfoot

McKillip, who worked for Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign before joining DHHS, and Lightfoot exchanged several emails about Lightfoot’s appointment by DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, both before and after Lightfoot’s position on early education and Twitter posts attracted media attention.

“You may already know that I’ve been appointed DHHS Director of Child Development and Education,” Lightfoot wrote in a Feb. 2 email to McKillip. “Thanks for your help!”

“Yes! Congratulations! I’m glad it’s official!,” McKillip wrote back a few hours later. “Look forward to having you on board!”

The emails were released Monday as part of a Feb. 8 public records request N.C. Policy Watch and several other media organizations made about Lightfoot’s appointment and subsequent resignation.

Read More