Critics of GOP complain before session
RALEIGH (AP) — Critics of Republican policies in North Carolina used the return of legislators for a veto override session Tuesday as an occasion to call for an investigative hearing and to give GOP legislators failing grades this year.
The North Carolina Association of Educators and Progress North Carolina Action held a news conference at the Legislative Building before the General Assembly gaveled in its session.
They lamented the lack of salary increases for teachers this year while key young members of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration got large pay raises. Much of the focus has been on two members of McCrory’s campaign team now each making more than $80,000 at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Speakers at the groups said House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, and Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, should commit to ask questions publicly about the pay raises and others who got them after McCrory directed state government offices in March to trim costs to deal with a Medicaid shortfall.
Teachers have received one across-the-board pay raise in the past five years.
“Now is the time for (them) to stand up for state employees, educators and taxpayers,” NCAE President Rodney Ellis said at a news conference. “They need to commit to an investigative hearing on these pay raises, ask the questions and demand answers.”
McCrory said last month that two HHS employees — communications director Ricky Diaz and policy adviser Matthew McKillip — got promotions because they were the most qualified applicants, beating out older candidates. But HHS hasn’t yet provided evidence their positions were ever advertised to other potential applicants or that other candidates were considered.