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State Government
NC Will Have $500 Million Budget Surplus PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 10 February 2017 12:28
North Carolina is on-track to have a half-billion dollar surplus. 
Estimates the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division and the state budget office predict a surplus of  $552.5 million. This is the third consecutive year of budget surpluses. In fiscal year 2015, the surplus was more than $400 million in 2015 and $425 million last year.
Higher wages and increasing personal income tax and sales tax collections fueled the surplus. 
Judicial Panel Sides With Cooper To Halt Cabinet Confirmation Hearings PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 10:49
A three-judge panel has backed Governor Roy Cooper and issued a retraining order which will prevent legislative confirmation hearings for cabinet secretaries. The case challenging the Senate's right to confirm the governor's cabinet picks is expected to go to trial in March according to the Raleigh News and Observer.  
The restraining order squelched a scheduled Wednesday hearing for former U.S. Marine veteran and former state representative Larry D. Hall to lead the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Cooper and Republican legislative leaders has been fighting each other even before Cooper took office over issues involving separation of powers.  In December during a special session, the legislature passed a law making Cabinet appointments subject to Senate confirmation.
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore issued this statement before the ruling was made public. 
“Judges are not legislators and if these three men want to make laws, they should hang up their robes and run for a legislative seat,” Their decision to legislate from the bench will have profound consequences, and they should immediately reconvene their panel and reverse their order.”
Cooper issued a statement after the ruling was released.
“We need to put these partisan confirmation games behind us and get on with repealing HB2, raising teacher pay and getting better jobs for North Carolinians,” Cooper said. “The court is absolutely correct in their decision and should not be intimidated by threats from legislative leaders.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 10:59
Half Of Raleigh's Workforce Will Get A Raise PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Donna Martinez   
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 16:29
The City of Raleigh is moving forward a market-based compensation system for its employees. More than half the city’s workforce, 2,101 positions, will get a raise according to City Manager Ruffin Hall. 
The salary increases will take effect April 1, and cost the City approximately $1.8 million in the current fiscal year. 
Market data shows Raleigh Police and Fire personnel – particularly in entry level positions – are paid significantly below the target market rate. Nearly 1,200 of the 2,101 positions identified for mid-year salary increase are in public safety. Highlights include:
The starting salary for sworn police officers will increase to $40,000, nearly a 13.25 percent increase;


Police Officers, First Class Officers, and Master Officers will receive up to a 13.25 percent mid‐year increase; and,


Entry level firefighters will receive up to a 10 percent mid-year increase.


There are nearly 1,000 positions outside of Police and Fire that will receive a mid-year salary increase between two percent and four percent based on the following criteria:
Significant (15 percent or greater) misalignment with the market (more than 300 positions affected);


Positions with unusually high turnover (nearly 400 positions effected); and,


Positions that fall below the newly established Living Wage of $28,621 annually (215 positions affected).
“The decision to provide mid-year salary increases represents an immediate and meaningful commitment to the City’s workforce in the context of a broader initiative,” Hall said. “The current compensation structure is dated, confusing, and doesn’t completely reflect the market. In short, making improvements to our entire compensation system are long overdue - and it's the right thing to do.”
It had been 13 years since the City last performed a comprehensive market analysis.
Senior Managers Named At DEQ PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 16:19
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Secretary Michael S. Regan announced today several key appointments to his leadership team.  
Regan named retired Colonel John A. Nicholson as the agency’s chief deputy secretary. Nicholson served 28 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was the military affairs advisor to two North Carolina governors. Nicholson has advanced energy efficiency and environmental conservation initiatives while in the military. Nicholson will work closely with Secretary Regan, overseeing various managerial duties including special projects related to the military. Nicholson succeeds John Evans.
Sheila Holman has been named DEQ’s assistant secretary for the Environment. A dedicated and talented career public servant, Holman has worked for nearly three decades in the federal and state air quality regulatory arenas. She’s spent the past six years leading the state Division of Air Quality. Holman will oversee development of major policy initiatives for programs with responsibilities such as permitting of discharges to surface waters; issuance of air emissions permits; implementation of grant programs for wastewater and permitting of coastal development; and regulation of animal operations. Holman replaces Tom Reeder. Mike Abraczinskas, who has worked much of his career as a public servant with DEQ, will serve as the acting director for the N.C. Division of Air Quality.
Regan also selected attorney William “Bill” F. Lane to serve as DEQ’s general counsel. For the past 20 years, Lane has worked for Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Raleigh representing a variety of business and governmental clients on issues related to energy, air quality, waste management and water quality. Lane will be the first point of contact in litigation, acting as the service agent for all contested cases, tort claims and other lawsuits involving the department. He will supervise the rulemaking coordination process and provide advice on new policy initiatives, legislation, contracts, conflicts of interest and dispute resolution. Lane replaces attorney Sam Hayes.
Regan selected R. Anderson “Andy” Miller to be DEQ’s legislative affairs director. Miller has managed legislative functions for two N.C. House representatives. Miller will work with members of the General Assembly on environmental legislation and constituent issues, and coordinate DEQ’s periodic reports to the General Assembly. Miller replaces Mollie Young.
Jamie Kritzer has been named DEQ’s acting deputy secretary for Public Affairs. Kritzer has worked as a public information officer for the agency since 2003. Prior to joining DEQ, he was a newspaper reporter. Kritzer will oversee the agency’s internal and external communications. 
Regan thanked DEQ’s previous leadership team for their dedicated service to the state. 

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