What Gov. Pat McCrory and his Republican legislative allies call “flexibility,” most North Carolinians are likely to call “political patronage.”
Last week, House Republicans passed legislation increasing a governor’s political appointees. Sponsors of the bill, which still needs Senate approval, say McCrory needs hiring flexibility to enact his policies.
Last year, when it became obvious that McCrory would win the governor’s office, his legislative allies increased the number of state government jobs that are vulnerable to political patronage. It had been under 500. Now it is 1,000. If the latest House bill becomes law, it will be 1,500.
McCrory and proponents of the bill say they need flexibility and a new employee dismissal policy to make it easier to get rid of under-performing state employees. But, when the legislature increases the number of political patronage jobs, it is admitting that the people in those jobs are not being fired – or more delicately described, laid off – because they performed poorly. These workers are losing their jobs simply because the governor wants to give their jobs to others, most likely to political allies.
That’s called political patronage, and it has both its good and bad sides.
A governor, when taking office, deserves the right to put his or her own people in jobs when those jobs are assigned policy-making duties. To deny the governor that power would deny the governor the ability to govern.
But only a small number of state workers make policy. Most state workers don’t; for sure, there aren’t 1,500 state employees who make policy decisions. With the exception of a few hundred policymakers, state employees carry out the policies designed by their superiors. So McCrory only needs 1,500 political patronage jobs if he’s planning to fill state employee ranks with his political cronies.
This legislation runs counter, in its partisanship, to the bipartisan appeal that McCrory made to voters during the 2012 campaign. It rings not of a governor trying to bring a state together but of one who would punish, by firing, those who did not support him.
The governor of my state, Pat McCrory, has completely abandoned his campaign stance of bipartisanship and centrist policies again and again. I didn’t vote for his sorry, lying ass, but I was hopeful that he would walk the walk after he talked the talk. Another political chameleon reveals himself to be a hypocrite of predictable proportions. Honesty and transparency in government would be so refreshing. The repressive and regressive agenda of the modern “conservative” is both heartbreaking and infuriating. When will Americans demand better from our leaders?