More hiring hijinks at DHHS

September 18, 2013 

Just when it seemed that Gov. Pat McCrory and his Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos had been sufficiently embarrassed to stop hiring unqualified DHHS senior advisers at high salaries, they’ve done it again. And at the rate the imperious Wos is driving competent, experienced people out of the 17,000-employee department, her bewildering string of hires may just be getting started.

The latest fiasco reported this week by The N&O’s Joe Neff and Lynn Bonner was the hiring last month of Margaret “Mardy” Peal, 42, to fill a newly created $95,000 senior planner position.

Outside of a stint as a lecturer at East Carolina University’s medical school that ended more than a decade ago, Peal appears to have scant qualifications for her new post. She is part of team that will carry out McCrory’s plan to turn over the running of the state’s $14 billion Medicaid program to private insurance companies. Indeed, legal records show Peal, a stay-at-home mom, didn’t have a paying job between 2001 and 2011.

Despite her lack of expertise, Peal does have the credentials that appear to matter most to the governor and Wos. She is a McCrory campaign contributor ($1,250) and deeply conservative. She helped found the Eastern North Carolina Tea Party and is a board member of the Carolina Pregnancy Center, an anti-abortion ministry.

As has been her pattern, Wos declined to comment. But her disdain for the opinion of the public she is supposed to serve speaks loudly enough.

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