By now, it’s apparent to most political observers that Pat McCrory’s campaign platform was a sham. He ran on fixing a broken government but never defined what exactly was broken. Most of us thought he was referring to the cronyism and petty corruption like sweetheart real estate deals that had marked recent Democratic administrations.

In reality, he wasn’t talking about anything. He was just saying what he thought sounded good or what some pollster or consultant told him to say. Instead of reducing cronyism or adding transparency, he’s filled state government with overpaid, under-qualified political hires and made government operations more opaque than any administration in recent memory. The announcement that his administration will charge for public records requests is a blatant attempt to discourage scrutiny of the executive branch.

But the operation at the Department of Health and Human Services takes the cake. The whole operation seems designed to make a mockery of his  campaign. In the largest, probably most complex, department in state government, McCrory appointed a clear crony, not an experienced administrator. Aldona Wos is a big political donor with no experience in state government.

And Wos is running her department like it’s her own personal fiefdom. She’s hired political hacks for policy positions and run off most of the senior staff. Instead of real estate deals, she’s handing out fat contracts to political and personal allies. And she’s offering no justification for these apparent payoffs because she says she’s above scrutiny. In short, she’s created all of the problems that McCrory was elected to fix in that one Department.

And what’s McCrory say? He defends her as being a brilliant public servant who is under attack by an unfair media. And he falls back on that campaign slogan that worked so well: DHHS is broken. We don’t know what is broken or how all of those high paid political cronies are going to fix it, but we’re supposed to take his word for it.

McCrory quite obviously either didn’t understand the promises he made on the campaign trail or didn’t believe them himself. The DHHS fiasco will likely become a symbol of his cynicism or incompetence. His broken promise not to further restrict abortion was quite remarkable, given the certainty of his pledge, but the appointment of Aldona Wos and the continued support of her cronyism and lack of transparency refutes his entire reason for being elected.


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