Under the Dome

Dome: McCrory renews push for overhaul of State Personnel Act

From Staff ReportsJuly 16, 2013 

Gov. Pat McCrory renewed his push for an overhaul of the State Personnel Act on Tuesday, saying it would streamline the appeals process. Critics say it would essentially remove most civil service protections.

Speaking to a group of real estate executives, McCrory said he had a gifted Cabinet that was as good as any corporate board, but he said they were stymied in improving government by the State Personnel Act, which provides job protections from arbitrary or political firings.

“Their hands are tied in their ability to streamline government and make it more efficient because we have rules in state government which are worse than any union rules in the United States,” McCrory told the group meeting at the Embassy Suites in Cary.

“They don’t allow me to reward employees who provide excellent customer service, and they don’t allow me to get rid of the employees that don’t meet the standards that we have to have to give good customer service,” he said.

The governor said the current appeals process often takes 400 days, and managers often find it’s not worth the effort to try to fire a state worker. McCrory said he would eventually like to set up a performance-based system under which state employees could be evaluated.

The House has already approved a bill that would remake the grievance process, removing the key link from independent administrative law judges to political appointees of the governor. The measure is now pending in the Senate.

Rucho: ‘I am back’

Sen. Bob Rucho was back at his usual spot in front of the Senate Finance Committee room Tuesday, the paper nameplate identifying him as chairman. The Matthews Republican who tried to resign his Finance Committee chairmanship in a split with Republican leaders over tax reform said he’s resumed his duties as chairman.

“I am back,” Rucho said. “I got my problem resolved.”

Berger never accepted his resignation, but Rucho removed himself from the chairman’s seat and sat with the rest of the committee members for at least one Finance Committee meeting.

Rucho wants to extend sales taxes to goods and services but is on board with the tax plan House and Senate Republicans and McCrory agreed to, which is essentially a cut in personal and corporate income tax rates.

Status of construction bill

It could be next week before the state House takes up a bill that would allow the commissioners in Wake County and several other counties to take control of school construction.

House Rules Committee Chairman Tim Moore said Tuesday that he’s not been asked yet by Sen. Neal Hunt to take up Senate Bill 236. Moore, a Cleveland County Republican, said he doesn’t anticipate considering the bill until next week.

Moore said he expects that Hunt, a Raleigh Republican, is trying to firm up support among the GOP caucus before asking for action on the bill. The House Government Committee rejected the bill last week because of the opposition of some Republican legislators, prompting the full House to move the bill to the Rules Committee.

Under the bill, the commissioners in nine counties would be able to take complete control of school construction, including locating, owning, building, maintaining and renovating schools.

Time is running out on the bill as legislators hope to end the session next week.

The bill has already passed the Senate. As a local bill, it would not require the governor’s signature to become law. The Republican-led Wake County Board of Commissioners asked for the legislation, while the Democratic-led school board opposes the change.

Staff writers Keung Hui, Rob Christensen and Lynn Bonner

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