Under the Dome

Dome: McCrory scales back bathroom renovations

October 12, 2013 

Gov. Pat McCrory will not spend the budgeted $230,000 in taxpayer money to remodel bathrooms in his residence at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh after all, his spokeswoman said Saturday.

“The governor has firmly communicated to the Department of Administration that not one penny of taxpayer dollars will be used to remodel or upgrade any of the six bathrooms in the living quarters of the State of North Carolina’s executive mansion. Only a very limited amount of funds will be used to repair potential code violations, treat dangerous mold and fix broken faucets,” said Kim Genardo, Governor’s Communications Director.

On Friday, The Associated Press elaborated on a list of $90 million in renovations of state property released and reported on earlier in the week, pointing out that one of the items was for new marble, tubs and fixtures for six bathrooms on the upper floors of the governor’s home in Raleigh.

The AP story was widely published and drew negative reaction. Democrats used it to accuse him of having misplaced priorities, considering the state’s budget woes.

The Department of Administration said the bathrooms had not been updated since the 1970s in the Victorian-era building.

New jobs for prison workers

Hundreds of prison workers who were left in the lurch when the state began closing five prisons this year have been placed in other state jobs, a legislative oversight committee was told last week.

David Guice, commissioner of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, said four of the prisons have been closed. All employees at the prison in Robeson County were placed in other jobs; all but one worker was placed from the Wayne County facility; and all but two people from prisons in Duplin and Bladen counties received offers for jobs.

Some workers declined to take those jobs and either resigned or retired, he said.

The Western Youth Institution will be closing in the next couple of months. Guice said 214 positions have been identified to offer the 259 workers there. The division will keep looking for positions for the remaining people.

“Not everybody will work as close to home as before,” Guice said. “But it will turn out to be an OK situation, if there can be an OK situation. I think we’ll be able to place the large majority of staff.”

‘Witch hunt’ controversy

The state GOP on Friday called on state Sen. Martin Nesbitt to apologize to Dr. Aldona Wos, head of the state Department of Health and Human Services, for a remark he made about witches last week.

Near the end of a nine-hour legislative committee meeting Tuesday, the Democratic Senate leader from Asheville responded to a Republican senator’s complaint that N.C. Health News was on a “witch hunt” in its efforts to obtain public records from DHHS. The news organization reported the agency slanted its response to a state audit, based on those records.

To which Nesbitt appeared to reply: “It’s not a witch hunt to try to find out what went on. ... Maybe the lady who wrote the article was on a witch hunt. I think she found it – a little.”

N.C. Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Joyce Krawiec, in a news release issued Friday, reacted to earlier news media reports that quoted Nesbitt as having said, “I think she found one,” which could be interpreted as Nesbitt calling Wos a witch.

Krawiec said it was “a highly offensive and misogynistic term” and demanded he apologize to Wos. Video of the comments that Dome reviewed suggest that, while ungrammatical, vague and a little garbled, Nesbitt’s remark was about problems in DHHS and wasn’t directed at Wos.

Nesbitt’s spokesman said he wasn’t talking about Wos personally.

Staff writer Craig Jarvis

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