Dome: New Council of State can't wait to get started

From staff reportsDecember 4, 2012 

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Governor-elect Pat McCrory speaks during his first press conference at the Albemarle Building in Raleigh, N.C. Thursday Nov. 8, 2012. McCrory traveled to Raleigh on Thursday to set up his transition office, meet with Perdue and hold his first press conference.

CHUCK LIDDY — cliddy@newsobserver.com

Gov.-elect Pat McCrory convened an informal Council of State meeting hours after the current panel met Tuesday to decide the Dix land-lease deal.

At the meeting of the incoming Council of State, the Dix vote from earlier in the morning wasn’t discussed, McCrory spokesman Chris Walker said. It was more of a get-to-know-everyone meeting, he said, in which all pledged to work together.

Through the spokesman, McCrory declined to comment on the Dix deal and wouldn’t publicly support Republican Senate leader Phil Berger’s efforts to find a legal way to block the lease to the City of Raleigh.

The future Council of State looks pretty much like the one that Gov. Bev Perdue met with. Only two current council members weren’t present at McCrory’s meeting: Perdue and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton.

McCrory and incoming GOP Lieutenant Gov. Dan Forest are new, and the board remains Democrat-majority. But the breakdown is now 6 to 4 favoring Democrats, instead of 8-2.

Perdue and Dalton didn’t give a sappy goodbye to their fellow state leaders at the final council meeting Tuesday. Perdue did joke at one point about Dalton’s complicated legal explanation of one matter on the agenda. “I’m brushing up on my legal skills,” Dalton said in reply and chuckled.

Dalton, a lawyer, has not yet announced his plans once he leaves office.

Holman at Conservation Fund

Bill Holman has a new gig: director of The Conservation Fund’s North Carolina office.

It’s a fitting job for the man who once served as Gov. Jim Hunt’s secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and as executive director of the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

Holman is currently director of state policy at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. In his new job, which starts Jan. 2, Holman will lead efforts to advance land and water conservation across North Carolina.

In the past three decades, The Conservation Fund has worked with landowners to help save more than 200,000 acres in the state, including Grandfather Mountain and Chimney Rock state parks, DuPont State Forest and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

At Duke, Holman collaborated with the City of Raleigh and local land trusts on the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative, where the city’s water customers conserve important lands in the Falls Lake watershed.

Archives take in social media

Tweets and Facebook posts by and about North Carolina politicos will now stand as an official part of the public record in the State Archives of North Carolina.

A beta version of a project bringing social media into the archives was unveiled Tuesday after the state worked with a Durham company called ArchiveSocial to figure out how best to aggregate what people are saying about government online, according to WRAL’s Tech Wire.

Kelly Eubank, head of the electronic records for the state archives, believes that social media belong in the public record and had been an outspoken leader on that front long before the agreement with ArchiveSocial and the launching of the first site.

“For the first time ever, we can capture the full context of social media as it happens and make the records almost instantly available to the general public,” Eubank said.

The state signed a two-year deal at an undisclosed cost to launch the program, and the initial launch includes more than 55,000 records, Tech Wire reports.

Staff writers John Frank, Mary Cornatzer and Austin Baird

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