Under the Dome

Lawmakers demand answers on DHHS, Admin consolidation

October 14, 2012 

The Republican co-chairmen of the General Assembly’s Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services sent a letter last week to the secretary of the Department of Administration asking for more information about plans to consolidate DHHS workers onto a single campus.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, Rep. Justin Burr and Sen. Louis Pate have asked Secretary of Administration Moses Carey Jr. to provide answers to six questions by 5 p.m. Monday. The questions cover a range of issues, including whether DOA’s cost-effectiveness analysis of the project took into account various DHHS lease payments.

The legislators note that an earlier facilities master plan that was completed in 2007 recommended that DHHS be consolidated on the Dorothea Dix campus.

“What is DOA’s rationale for acting contrary to the plan’s recommendations?” the letter asks.

The legislators also ask whether the funding from operations and maintenance from the Dorothea Dix campus will be enough to cover any lease payment for the first phase of the move to a new campus. The roughly 1,400 DHHS employees on the Dix campus are to be the first employees to move in 2014.

“This issue is critical to substantiate the claim that the consolidation will not require additional appropriations and will not derail the state’s cash flow," the letter states.

In July, DOA posted a request for proposals to consolidate DHHS in a single location. The agency is seeking up to 1 million square feet for the campus, which eventually would replace the 30 state-owned and -leased facilities that the agency now has in Wake County. DHHS will need 600,000 to 650,000 square feet no later than June 2014, and more space in 2017 and 2019.

2 GOP House freshmen targeted

Planned Parenthood’s political arm is urging the defeat of two freshmen Republican members of the state House: Rep. Tom Murry of Morrisville and Rep. Tim Moffitt of Asheville, among others.

Planned Parenthood of Central N.C. Action Fund, a political action committee, reports having spent $5,809 on the effort from late September to early October. The national political arm, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, last month sent $27,000 to help out in North Carolina.

Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund, a nonprofit entity, has endorsed both incumbents’ opponents: Jim Messina for Murry’s House District 41, and Jane Whilden for Moffitt’s House District 116. Both are Democrats and pro-choice.

Paige Johnson, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina, said the group was targeting legislators who voted to defund Planned Parenthood health programs even though they live in districts with strong support for those services.

“They made these attacks their priority and we told them there would be consequences,” Johnson said.

But Murry and Moffitt are firmly part of the GOP hierarchy in the legislature. Moffitt reports having received more than $280,000 so far, and Murry more than $130,000.

A Planned Parenthood PAC took credit for the defeat in this year’s primary of 28-year incumbent Rep. Jim Crawford, a Democrat from Oxford who crossed party lines to help pass the abortion-restrictions bill last year.

Additional campaigning is under way. The North Carolina PAC hasn’t filed a campaign finance report yet because the deadline is later this month.

Coleman gets national PAC help

Democracy for America has endorsed Democrat Linda Coleman in the race for lieutenant governor.

The endorsement means fundraising help and a source of volunteers. Democracy for America – a political action committee founded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a former national Democratic Party chairman – will ask its 31,000 North Carolina members to help in Coleman’s campaign.

“I am elated to have the endorsement of Democracy for America and welcome them as an ally in my race,” Coleman said in a statement. “It is our shared belief that politics should be people-powered and people-focused.”

She’s running against Republican Dan Forest.

Democracy for America Chairman Jim Dean said Coleman, former director of the state personnel office, knows how to help the state.

“She understands the needs of the state and after overseeing the state’s 93,000 state employees – she knows first hand what families of North Carolina need,” Dean said in a statement.

Staff writers David Bracken, Craig Jarvis, Rob Christensen and Lynn Bonner

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