So, here’s where we stand in the latest McCrory administration debacle. Last week, Sarah Ovaska of N. C. Policy Watch discovered that two campaign hacks working at the Department of Health and Human Services, both two years out of college and with no government experience, were given raises of more than $20,000 in April–three weeks after Gov. McCrory called for freezes of any pay increases. In interviews, McCrory called them the most qualified people for the jobs, insisting they beat out more senior applicants for the positions. However, both WRAL and the News & Observer report that neither one had any health policy experience. In addition, WRAL reported that 280 people were given raises after McCrory’s directive.
Now, here’s where we get to the fun part. When she was asked about the hires, McCrory spokesperson Kim Genardo referred questions to Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos. Wos wouldn’t return calls and neither would her communications director, Ricky Diaz, one of the recipients of the fat raises.
Obviously, the governor has said enough. As Gary Pearce pointed out, McCrory tried to defend the indefensible when he claimed they were the most qualified for the job. His communications people want to push it off on Wos, who, according to McCrory, has one of the best communications guys in the business. But the best in the business isn’t talking, either.
So much for buck stopping. This is hot potato and everybody is going to get burned. Nobody is being straight up and now they are all hiding from the press.
McCroy may have lied again. In watching his interviews, it’s apparent he just can’t help himself. He’s going to say a lot more than he needs to and he’s going to fill in the details regardless of whether or not they’re true. If these two hires beat out more senior people, who were they? What were the qualifications that made them the most qualified for the jobs? And finally, if they are so good, why has the Department of Health and Human Services made so many missteps in such a short period of time?
Eight months into his term, McCrory and his administration are in bunker mode. His Secretary of Public Safety, Kieran Shanahan, resigned under mysterious circumstances that have yet to be explained. His Health and Human Services Secretary gets in trouble every time she opens her mouth. And the governor lacks the political skills to get in front of any issue.
If McCrory and company are really hiring the best and brightest they can find, they’ve got a shallow applicant pool.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >