A North Carolina state senator said Tuesday he plans to introduce a measure that would oust Mecklenburg County Commissioner George Dunlap from the new board of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.
Dunlap, a Democrat, was one of three former Cardinal board members elected last week to replace the board fired last month in the wake of a state takeover of Cardinal. The state Department of Health and Human Services took control of the organization after the board gave severance packages totaling $3.8 million to former CEO Richard Topping and three other executives.
Sen. Tommy Tucker, a Waxhaw Republican and frequent Cardinal critic, said he’ll move to oust Dunlap and Marcelle Smith of Halifax County from the board.
He said a third former member, Bryan Thompson of Davie County, was not on the board at the time the severances were approved.
“I see no sense in George Dunlap … serving on the board again,” said Sen. Tommy Tucker, a Waxhaw Republican and frequent Cardinal critic.
Dunlap could not be reached Tuesday.
Cardinal is the largest of the state’s seven managed care organizations and manages the needs of people with developmental disabilities and mental health issues in 20 counties. Before the state takeover, it had come under fire for paying high executive salaries, including $635,000 to Topping.
Tucker said he would try to amend a bill dealing with salaries by adding a provision that nobody on the board at the time of the state takeover could serve on Cardinal’s new board. That would be Dunlap and Smith.
Tucker also took issue with a recent statement Topping made. He told the Observer that the state never raised concerns about salaries until recently. “If they had an issue with market-based compensation at Cardinal, then they should have brought that up and it should have been resolved,” he said.
Tucker provided an April letter to then-board chair Lucy Drake raising concerns about Topping’s contract. He said he never received a reply.
“Yes there were people asking,” Tucker said Tuesday. “And they never responded.”