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Cooper swiftly reinstates boards, commissions to help hurricane recovery

Gov. Roy Cooper is reconstituting six state boards and commissions to ensure the continuity of effort related to Hurricane Florence recovery, his office reported Monday.

A three-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court in August declared unconstitutional the statutes which provided for the appointment of members to six state boards and commissions, leaving these boards unable to operate. Those boards are: Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board of Trustees; Parks and Recreation Authority; Private Protective Services Board; State Building Commission; Child Care Commission; and Rural Infrastructure Authority.

Cooper signed six executive orders — in accordance with state law and consistent with the court order — reestablishing the continued operation of those six boards and commissions that have final executive decision-making authority.

“It is important to note that the statutes regarding the powers and duties of these boards and commissions remain in effect,” the Governor’s Office noted in a news release. “Only the proportion of membership allotted to the legislative and executive branches is addressed through these executive orders.”

A 2016 North Carolina Supreme Court decision found that North Carolina law requires the Governor have sufficient control over executive boards and commissions, which means the Governor appoints a majority of the members. The three-judge panel’s August ruling is based on this North Carolina Supreme Court decision, according to the release.

The judges found that the statutes establishing these six boards and commissions failed to allocate a majority of appointments to the Governor.

“These boards and commissions do important work for the people of North Carolina,” the release states. “Several of them have meetings scheduled in the coming weeks that directly impact North Carolinians recovering from Hurricane Florence. For example, the State Building Commission should receive briefs on emergency repair work. The Rural Infrastructure Authority needs to be able to consider JDIG grants to economic development projects in disaster counties.”

Cooper’s Office states it is urgent that the Governor take swift action to reconstitute the boards and commissions to do the state’s business, because, in part, of the widespread damage wrought by Hurricane Florence.

The executive orders signed today can be found here:

Executive Order No. 68: Reconstituting the Child Care Commission

Executive Order No. 69: Reconstituting the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board of Trustees

Executive Order No. 70: Reconstituting the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority

Executive Order No. 71: Reconstituting the Private Protective Services Board

Executive Order No. 72: Reconstituting the Rural Infrastructure Authority

Executive Order No. 73: Reconstituting the State Building Commission

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Cooper swiftly reinstates boards, commissions to help hurricane recovery