Under the Dome

Perdue plans no fewer than four staffed offices

January 2, 2009 

Gov.-elect Beverly Perdue plans to have four offices.

Spokesman David Kochman said that Perdue will keep offices in New Bern and Asheville and add a third in Charlotte, in addition to the governor's main office in Raleigh.

Each of the offices will be staffed by a representative whose job it will be to serve as a link between the governor's office and the local government.

"The things they might do would be representing the governor at local events and regional meetings, so they can report back about the matters being discussed," he said.

They will also help with local constituent services and help Perdue prepare for local visits.

Kochman said Perdue's pledge to open a Charlotte office came long before she faced Republican Pat McCrory in the November campaign.

New job for Perdue aide

Perdue has appointed Donice Harbor to direct an Office of Citizen and Faith Outreach.

Harbor, a longtime Perdue staffer, will oversee contact with the public, constituent groups and religious organizations. She will help ensure a diverse pool of applicants for boards and commissions.

Harbor held a similar post when Perdue was lieutenant governor.

Prior to working with Perdue, Harbor was a research assistant and legislative liaison to the late state Sen. Jeanne Lucas.

Two get temporary posts

Gov. Mike Easley has picked two deputies to replace retiring department heads until permanent successors are named.

Tracy Little will be acting secretary of the Department of Correction to replace retiring Theodis Beck. Little was deputy secretary in Correction.

Easley named Joanne McDaniel acting secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to replace retiring George Sweat. McDaniel was chief of staff in the department.

The two will lead their agencies until Perdue can install replacements.

No new House seat soon

North Carolina may continue to have a 13-member delegation for the near future.

Although the state is growing rapidly, a recent report by Election Data Services said it may not add another Congressional seat after the 2010 Census.

"Change for the State of North Carolina is more tentative; it would pick up a seat in two of the mid-term projection models, but would fail to increase in both the long-term and short-term population models," the service wrote.

After the 2000 Census, North Carolina added its 13th seat, which U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat, was elected to fill in 2002.

Along with Florida, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Washington, North Carolina is considered in the running for an additional seat, while states such as California, Illinois and New York may lose a seat.

Aside from the additional representation, an extra Congressional seat would boost North Carolina's role in the presidential election process by giving the state another elector.

That's really nice, Mike

Easley's furniture apparently took weeks to build.

For Christmas this year, the governor gave his wife, Mary, an elaborate black walnut secretary and a tiger maple dining table that he made.

A well-known woodworking hobbyist, Easley makes furniture for his wife every year.

Contacted by Dome, woodworker Michael Shelley of Carolina Heirlooms estimated that the secretary would take a professional three to four weeks to complete working full time, but six months or more for an amateur, depending on skill level.

He said the completed piece would be worth $8,000 to $12,000.

Shelley said that the table would take a week or less for a professional, and a week or two for an amateur, depending on the equipment used. He said it would be worth $1,500 to $2,000.

"Keep in mind, wood prices, availability are huge factors in the cost of these items," Shelley said in an e-mail message to Dome. "Ask five different furniture makers, and you will get five different answers."

By staff writers Ryan Teague Beckwith and Ben Niolet. ryan.teague.beckwith@newsobserver.com or 202-383-6016

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