Many state employees could return to work Tuesday not knowing who their new bosses are.
Last week incoming Gov. Roy Cooper sent notices to dozens of high-level staffers in the 10 state agencies that make up his Cabinet. The letters told them they would no longer have a job as of Sunday, Jan. 1, Cooper’s first day on the job.
For the most part, state employees had Sunday and Monday off work. But for some, it’s unclear who they report to when they return to the office on Tuesday.
Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for Cooper, said Monday afternoon that the Democratic governor wouldn’t announce any of his picks for Cabinet appointees until later in the week. And what’s more, she said, there was no public list of interim leaders who have taken or will take over those departments until the permanent agency heads are in office.
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Talley said most but not all Cabinet agencies have interim leaders in place as of Monday afternoon.
Gov. Pat McCrory announced several members of his Cabinet weeks before he was sworn in as governor in January 2013.
Cooper named Charlie Perusse as his state budget director Monday. He also announced his choices for legal counsel and director of the Office of State Human Resources and that Talley would join his press office.
The new Cabinet will take office under more uncertainty than usual. A new law, passed in the waning days of 2016, requires that all of Cooper’s Cabinet leaders be confirmed by the N.C. Senate.
As long as Cooper makes all of his appointments before Jan. 11, when the General Assembly comes back into session, his appointees will take office. But they could be retroactively removed from office by the Senate – in which case the department would likely pass back to an interim leader until a new appointee is selected and approved.
Cooper’s team has hinted it might sue over the constitutionality of the new law.
But Senate leader Phil Berger’s office has pointed to a section of the state constitution that says “the Governor shall nominate and by and with the advice and consent of a majority of the Senators appoint all officers whose appointments are not otherwise provided for.”
Doran: 919-836-2858; Twitter: @will_doran