From a Sept. 3 editorial in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:
Gov. Pat McCrory signaled early on with his now-famous seat warmers line about state employees that he planned to get tough on underpaid, often-overworked state workers. Now it appears hes ready to take on those who do their jobs too well. And if environmental regulators are out of their seats too much, they may find themselves out of their jobs as well.
What a transparent exercise in the abuse of power is McCrorys use of authority granted him by Republicans in the General Assembly to make more state workers at will employees. That means they will not have civil service protections against being unjustly fired. This is nothing more than manipulation of the peoples government for the political aggrandizement of the governor and his political cronies. It is quite the strange move from a governor who campaigned against government he said was corrupted by politics.
The governors office argues that the governor needs this change to make sure employees are on board with his mission so that he can shape his agenda.
Uh, huh. Anyone want to price a bridge in Brooklyn?
Whats really going on is evidenced by the fact that, in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the number of at-will jobs is expanding from 24 to 167. DENR has long been a favorite target of Republicans who would like to gut most environmental regulations so business, specifically developers, can do as they wish with coastal property or with other big projects that now have to pass permit muster and comply with oversight.
Republican lawmakers have tried to legislate regulators right out of their jobs.
But now theyll be able to demand that individuals urging more caution in a development or even denying permits because of threats to water and air resources be fired. Former DENR Secretary Bill Holman said there was relentless pressure on regulators from those they regulate, and many of the regulated have friends in high places. McCrory and the Republicans have now made it easier for pressure to be brought to bear.
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