Resident Roy Cooper is "nice" but Attorney General Roy Cooper is "naughty" on the Civitas Institute's list this holiday season.
The conservative organization supports most of the Republican legislative agenda and often targets the Democrat, so it's no surprise to see Cooper on the bad side of their list.
In this case, they criticize him for speaking out against the GOP majority on matters his office is defending in court. The "nice" part applauds Cooper, the average everyday voter, for speaking his mind on state policy issues. The kicker on resident Cooper's write up is dripping in sour egg nog: "robust debate is vital for democracy," Civitas wrote.
One other two-time list appearance is the State Board of Elections. Civitas President Francis DeLuca openly campaigned for a spot on the board but Gov. Pat McCrory didn't appoint him. (Senate leader Phil Berger recently appointed him to the State Ethics Commission.)
On the list, the board makes the "nice" side for appointing Kim Strach as executive director and booting Gary Bartlett, which Civitas considered a bias Democratic appointee. But the board makes the "naughty" list of not ousting board attorney Don Wright. See the list here.
*** Note to readers: The Dome Morning Memo is preparing to take a holiday break. It may appear intermittently when news demands but look for a robust return in January. In the meantime, keep checking Dome for the latest in North Carolina political news. And don’t miss the top newsmakers, quotes and stores in a year-in-review series that will debut next week. ***
Brian Farkas, 26, is preparing to run against Brown in the 9th District. Farkas works at JKF Architecture in Greenville as director of client relations and development. He graduated with a master's degree in public administration from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013.
"My past experience in successfully making government work for the people, coupled with my current work in my family's small business, provides me with the unique experience necessary to effectively represent the people of the 9th District," he said in a statement.
He writes in the N&O: “The News & Observer made a surprising decision when it chose to print a Point of View piece by a former Department of Environment and Natural Resources employee on Dec. 16 (“Why I left my DENR job: conscience”). The decision was remarkable considering that once readers plodded through nearly 700 words of emotion, hyperbole and conjecture, a total of one fact remained. This is progress! That sole fact crushes this paper’s previous record of avoiding facts altogether when attacking the agency.” Read more here.
"It’s possible that a snowball effect could work for or against tea-party-aligned groups next year, depending on the outcomes."
The North Carolina connection: The article doesn't contemplate a huge role for the state's primary May 6, saying it is likely to go to a runoff in July. But it's right in the middle of the much-watched contests on the list.
Talk of a new law warding off potential conflicts of interest was triggered by a state audit of the Medicaid claims system this month that found a senior program manager at the state Department of Health and Human Services had gone to work for the vendor, Computer Sciences Corp. State Auditor Beth Wood described the program manager, Paul Guthery, as the “go-to person” for the state on the massive computer project.
Guthery left his $126,500-a-year state job in August to work for CSC. DHHS approved CSC’s hiring Guthery on Aug. 21, and Wood said the company offered him the job while he was employed with the state. He started work for the company on Aug. 27.
“This person left DHHS one day and literally went to work for the vendor,” she said. Read more here.
The recommendations came from the Legislature's Program Evaluation Division, which is responsible for checking into how well state services are being delivered. That includes measuring the performance of chancellors who run each of the 17 University of North Carolina campuses and in part on how well schools meet academic and operational efficiency goals. A top university system executive said in a written response that it will look at tying efficiency improvements to chancellors' performance evaluations. Read more here.
Obama's signature was assured on the measure, which lawmakers in both parties and at opposite ends of the Capitol said they hoped would curb budget brinkmanship and prevent more shutdowns in the near future.
"It's a good first step away from the shortsighted, crisis-driven decision-making that has only served to act as a drag on our economy," he said of the measure in a statement issued after the vote. And yet, he quickly added, "there is much more work to do to ensure our economy works for every working American."
The legislation passed the Democratic-controlled Senate on a vote of 64-36, six days after clearing the Republican-run House by a similarly bipartisan margin of 332-94. Read more here.
For the school board's vice chairman, a former Lee County Republican Party officer, that law was the tipping point. Mark Akinosho switched to the Democratic Party soon after the bill became law and said that in addition to disagreeing with the law itself, he was also disappointed at the way local Republican leaders designed the bill without consulting anyone who would actually be affected by it. Read more here.
Also at the end of the year, Anna Haberlein, the communications director for U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson of Concord, will step down and take the same job for Christine Jones’ gubernatorial campaign in Arizona. Robert Reid, the press secretary for U.S. Sen. Richard Burr will decamp and move into Haberlein’s former post.