So what is it about Republicans treating appointed and elected positions as part-time jobs? Remember Richard Petty? In his run for Secretary of State in 1996, he said he would keep his day job if he was elected. Elaine Marshall went on to embarrass him with the campaign slogan “A real candidate for a real job.”
And remember Les Merritt? He was elected State Auditor but continued to serve as a private financial consultant. Maybe his pay wasn’t high enough for an extravagant lifestyle, but he was making more than twice as much an North Carolina’s median income.
Now, Kieran Shanahan seems to think it’s okay to continue working in a law firm while serving as secretary of the Department of Public Safety. He says he’s taken measures to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. I know one measure that would definitely prevent those types of conflicts. Stop working in private practice and focus on the job the Governor hired you to do.
Republicans seem to think working in government is just some kind of sideline. We have a state of more than 9 million people and growing. We have a budget of over $50 billion and we have the fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation. It seems to me that warrants a full-time cabinet with people who both understand government and have expertise in the areas they are overseeing.
Governor McCrory, though, has opted to take a hands-off approach to his cabinet of inexperienced misfits. He has Shanahan, who obviously doesn’t have enough to do keeping the state safe, Aldona Wos, Secretary of Health and Human Services, who lied about McCrory rejecting Medicaid expansion, and John E. Skvarla, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, who is skeptical of the science on climate change. What a motley crew.
And what’s McCrory think about any of this? Who knows? He’s down in New Orleans and announced that he doesn’t know when he’s coming back and will no longer issue a daily calendar. The last time a governor from the Carolinas went off the radar screen like this, we found out that the Appalachian Trail stretched all the way to Argentina.