Black lawmakers join call for Wos' ouster at DHHS

Posted January 10, 2014

— The North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus called on Gov. Pat McCrory Friday to replace Aldona Wos as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The group of House and Senate lawmakers held news conferences around the state to discuss its concerns about Wos' leadership, a day after a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was made public, threatening to withhold administrative funding for the state's food stamps program because the state had failed to fix problems with its NC FAST benefits enrollment system. 

The Dec. 11 letter from USDA cites DHHS data showing thousands of families waiting months – sometimes three months or more – to receive benefits for which they qualified.

"These delays are completely unacceptable and a serious failure on the part of North Carolina," wrote the USDA's Food and Nutrition Services regional administrator Donald Arnette. "We have grave concern for the low-income people of North Carolina who are waiting for assistance." 

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus echoed those concerns at their Raleigh event. 

"Gov. McCrory needs to look and address the leadership problem that he is having at DHHS," said Rep. Yvonne Holley, D-Wake. "He needs to stop the bleed on the poorest and the neediest people here in our community "

The agency has reeled from one crisis to another over the past year, from problems with NC FAST to the failed rollout of NCTracks, the state's new Medicaid billing program. On Dec. 30, the agency sent out nearly 49,000 children's Medicaid cards to the wrong addresses, violating federal privacy laws and opening the state to the possibility of hefty fines.  

"At what point do you decide that what has happened requires drastic fixing?" Holley asked. 

House Minority Leader Larry Hall and Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt called for Wos' ouster Monday. Reps. Beverly Earle, D-Mecklenburg, and Michael Wray, D-Northampton, members of the House HHS Oversight Committee, added their voices Thursday.  

McCrory Deputy Communications Director Ryan Tronovitch pointed out Friday the letter is nearly a month old. He said DHHS has already taken "corrective action" to address the USDA's concerns.

"The governor has confidence that Secretary Wos and her team are working hard to ensure that those who need benefits receive benefits. Another gimmicky press scheme from the extreme left won’t help solve the problem," Tronovitch said in an emailed statement. "Gov. McCrory embraces solutions, not gimmicks.”

DHHS has not yet responded to WRAL News' request for comment.


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  • lprop Jan 13, 2014

    Why would an intelligent,professional person like the mayor of the state give a job to a person who wants no salary when there are capable people looking for work. What was his motivation and why would that person want to take a job from someone who really needs to work? This person shold be wroking for a charity why the state ????

  • cooldela1966 Jan 13, 2014

    McCrory should take a page from the Perdue playbook and appoint Bobby Ray Etheridge to fix the problem. He can be the HHS Czar.

  • notexactly Jan 13, 2014


    I agree that she needs to go, but I think it odd that you don't feel the same way about sebelius and Obamacare since you are benefiting from it?? Funny how that works. You say many have been hurt from the mess up due to the dhhs problem. I agree. But many more have been hurt by the ACA and since your not one of them, you praise it with no regards for the people that are being hurt by it. This is kinda like calling the kettle black. Oh and another thing, um they have had 3 plus years to get the ACA running, not a few months like you claim. Again funny how the excuses change to suit your agenda. If your going to bash someone one the right ( which I agree with) at least be fair and bash your guys too. I mean the ACA will hurt many more people and is, than the food stamp thing with the state. I think both issues are sad in todays times and technology but lets call it like it should be on both sides. At least if we all do this then each persons views can be looked at with honesty

  • cooldela1966 Jan 13, 2014

    McCrory should make a move and get someone else in to shake things up. Don't let this go on too long. Admit the problem and fix it. Nothing wrong in that.

  • andy2 Jan 12, 2014

    Is she the best the state can hire to do this job? I think if she is, the leadership both lib and con she get out. Her incompetence is only upstaged by the Gov continuing to support her.

  • dbutler14 Jan 11, 2014

    We all call for Wos' ouster

  • heelzfan4 Jan 11, 2014

    I certainly don't like much of anything going on at the Federal Level these days, but you certainly cannot blame Obama for this fiasco! This mess, including mailing out Medicaid cards to wrong addresses (which is a HIPAA Privacy FEDERAL violation), is all on the state of NC. Now, Who is the current Gov.? I've met this lady, Wos, and she seems genuinely concerned about DHHS, and I honestly think she is in over her head - she just does not have the experience for such a large dept (neither do I) ! But let's get the food stamp benefits to those who need them - come on now.... there are ways to fix that. I DO know that from professional experience!

  • kennylogginscousin Jan 10, 2014

    The media isn't liberal, per se. It's populist.

    You hear liberals decrying "the 1 percent," thus the confusion.

  • ALECarolina Jan 10, 2014

    Just curious, but if Wos is only making $1 a year to run DHHS, what motivates her to stay? What possible benefit does she gain by holding this job?

    Of course, all the problems and mistakes at DHHS are the extreme leftist liberal media's fault, but it's still a bit odd that Wos would stick around and be attacked like this unless she was gaining something in return.....and Art Pope is getting $1 a year too.

    What are they hanging around for $1 a year FOR?

    My guess is that the extreme leftist liberal media TRICKED them both into taking these government jobs, just so they'd have somebody to attack and pick on. That's gotta be it.....nothing else makes sense. Why would two wealthy people take a job working for the government for only a dollar a year?

  • kennylogginscousin Jan 10, 2014

    View quoted thread

    You're exactly right. A bureaucracy constantly in flux is an unstable bureaucracy.

    Wait and see what happens if the Feds pass these so-called "emergency unemployment benefits" -- in an economy that is completely stable, as per the Obama administration. There is a good chance this will play out again on the state level with the Unemployment Security Commission.

    Moral of the story: decrease variability in the bureaucracy :: increase stability in he bureaucracy. Or, the common sense approach -- which is least likely -- decrease the bureaucracy :: stability is less of an issue (it has less of an impact).