Raleigh, N.C. — House Democrats voiced concern Tuesday over a Mooresville attorney whom Gov. Pat McCrory nominated to fill a vacancy on the state Industrial Commission.
The Industrial Commission handles worker's compensation cases and tort claims against the state.
House Minority Leader Larry Hall said Charlton Allen has made public statements against workers' rights on issues such as pay and working conditions, which would call into question the impartiality of the commission on any rulings in which he participates.
"The integrity of the Industrial Commission is at stake," said Hall, D-Durham.
Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, called Allen "highly qualified," noting that he has extensive experience with worker's compensation cases. Rep. Jonathan Jordan, R-Ashe, even called Allen "a plaintiff's attorney" on such cases.
"Worker's compensation has nothing to do with fair pay," Jordan said. "It's about the claims of injured workers."
The House tentatively approved Allen's nomination by a 78-39 vote. Hall blocked a final vote on the issue, but Moore asked that the rules be suspended to consider the issue.
House Speaker Thom Tillis had to cast a vote in favor of suspending the rules so it had enough support to go through, and the House then voted 78-39 again to approve the nomination.
The House later decided to reconsider the third vote and leave it until Wednesday because of a question over how the rules were suspended.
Meanwhile, the House unanimously approved Linda Combs as the next state controller, succeeding David McCoy, who resigned April 1.
Combs, who served as U.S. controller under President George W. Bush, was roundly praised by House members for her work.
"I find her extremely meticulous in her work (and) very nonpartisan in her approach," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.
Her nomination now heads to the Senate.