Under the Dome

Agreement reached over appointments to unemployment appeals board

Legislation aimed at defusing tensions between the governor and General Assembly over who appoints members to an unemployment insurance appeals panel appears to be on its way to approval.

The House Rules Committee on Thursday approved Senate Bill 15, which the Senate approved in February, and sent it to the Finance Committee.

At issue is the Division of Employment Security’s Board of Review, which hears appeals from lower-level decisions on contested cases. The legislature created the board in 2011. Last year, Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed a bill that would have shortened and staggered the terms of the three board members, saying it encroached on executive branch authority.

Members of the House, Senate and governor’s office have now come up with a bill they can agree on. It retains the governor’s authority to appoint the members, with confirmation from the General Assembly, and it would confirm the current three members.

Although the Board of Review was created in 2011, members weren’t appointed until December 2013. In the meantime, a high-ranking member of the Department of Commerce handled those appeals. A lawsuit challenged the authority of that process, which put into question the validity of an estimated 13,000 decisions that were appealed.

This bill would validate the decisions made by the Commerce official.

Board members could serve no more than two four-year terms. The bill would also affect the current board members:

▪ Jeanette Doran’s term would have expired on June 30. She would continue into a second term of four years.

▪ Keith Holliday’s term would expire June 30, 2016. An appointment would have to be made for the term beginning July 1, 2016.

▪ Stanley Campbell’s term would expire in four years, on June 30, 2017.