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House GOP buries proposal to cut commission salaries

Posted February 28, 2013
Updated March 1, 2013

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— House Republicans on Thursday praised the proposed overhaul of state boards and commissions for cutting the size and cost of state government.

But at the same time, caucus leaders used a procedural move to bury a proposal to slash the six-figure salaries of members of the state Utility Commission.

The amendment, run by Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover, would have cut the salaries from more than $120,000 a year to about $80,000.

With the amendment before the House for a vote, Republican Rules Chairman Tim Moore used a parliamentary maneuver – a motion for the amendment "to lie upon the table" – to bury the proposal. 

When a chamber votes that a motion "do lie upon the table," it removes all trace of the proposed amendment from the legislative record. The "tabling" vote is also not easily available to the public. It offers the majority a convenient way to not only erase all traces of a proposal but to shield the identities of those who voted to erase it. 

In this case, the tablng vote succeeded on party lines, 59-41, but at least ten members of the Republican majority didn't vote for it.

Asked to explain why he moved to table the amendment, Moore, R-Cleveland, said, "I felt the amendment was not relevant for the bill and that it was an appropriations issue for the budget."

After the session, Hamilton said at a news conference that she ran the amendment to cut the salaries by about 35 percent because it matches the recent state unemployment benefit cuts.

Hamilton Democrats protest Boards and Commissions bill

"We felt as if – if the unemployed in this state were going to be reduced by that amount of money, then at the very least, the volunteers who are working on commissions in this state should have to experience the same sort of reduction," Hamilton explained.

"Unfortunately," she said, because of the procedural move, "we were never able to fully vet or fully explore that opportunity."

House Minority Leader Larry Hall blasted the Republican majority for claiming transparency.

 “Rep. Hamilton’s amendment was put upon the table so that we could NOT discuss it in the light of day before the people," Hall, D-Durham, told reporters.

"So once again, the Republican majority is telling the public, 'We’re open and honest and transparent,'" he said, "but again, we’ve been shut out. We the people are shut out of this process, and we think it needs to open up."

11 Comments

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  • babbleon Mar 1, 2:20 p.m.

    Did it not state cut from $120,000 to $80,000? Is this not CUT, CUT, CUT. Yes, put the Dems back in and watch your money fly out the window. ljohnson247

    Please learn how to read. A DEM proposed the salary cut, the GOP blocked it.

  • babbleon Mar 1, 2:19 p.m.

    "Obviously some people do not read the WRAL website regularly. Gov. Mcrory reduced the staff salaries in his office considerably when appointing replacements for the Perdue staff."

    Can you point to the article about the salary reductions. I read on N&O that the average salary for McCrory cabinet was an 8% RAISE.

    "Gov. Pat McCrory gives his cabinet generous salary hikes" http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/01/10/2598132/gov-pat-mccrory-gives-his-cabinet.html#storylink=cpy cvdurham

    No, that's the *cabinet*, his special cronies. General staff schmoes did get a pay cut relative to Gov Perdue. Because McCrory's watching out for 'regular people'.

    http://www.witn.com/news/stateregional/headlines/McCrory-Staff-Salaries-On-Track-To-Be-Lower-Than-Perdues--188932721.html

  • wildpig777 Mar 1, 12:14 p.m.

    WHAT THE HAY? you hypocrits- thats right lets cut everything except --our salaries-- hahahahah. so glad i left the repub party and became what republicans and democrats fear -- a free thinking independant voter-- a libertarian.

  • wral mods blow close my account Mar 1, 11:46 a.m.

    "Obviously some people do not read the WRAL website regularly. Gov. Mcrory reduced the staff salaries in his office considerably when appointing replacements for the Perdue staff."

    Can you point to the article about the salary reductions. I read on N&O that the average salary for McCrory cabinet was an 8% RAISE.

    "Gov. Pat McCrory gives his cabinet generous salary hikes"
    http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/01/10/2598132/gov-pat-mccrory-gives-his-cabinet.html#storylink=cpy

  • wth50beau Mar 1, 11:16 a.m.

    Obviously some people do not read the WRAL website regularly. Gov. Mcrory reduced the staff salaries in his office considerably when appointing replacements for the Perdue staff.

    Still, one wonders why a volunteer on a commission, who presumedly works a regular job as well, needs to be compensated at almost par with the Governor of the State. I believe Gov. Mcrory makes approx $140,000. There used to be something called public service. People actually tried to serve the good of the people and not line their pockets.

    That said, the commission reshuffle proposed does look like a naked power grab. In the case of the Utilities Commission, how can current/former utilities company employees represent the interests of the consumer as the Commission is charged to do?

  • thewayitis Mar 1, 9:56 a.m.

    $120,000 seems appropriate for a utility commissioner. Would any qualified person take that job for $80,000?

    And, um, the utility commissioners are actually working. Why should their pay be reduced because unemployment is reduced?

    This amendment seems to be a bit of a smart-alecky move on Ms. Hamilton's part.

  • wral mods blow close my account Mar 1, 8:51 a.m.

    McCrory is about SPEND, SPEND, SPEND for his buddies salaries.

  • ratherbnwpb Mar 1, 8:38 a.m.

    Did it not state cut from $120,000 to $80,000? Is this not CUT, CUT, CUT. Yes, put the Dems back in and watch your money fly out the window. In Washinton, all you hear you hear from the DEMS is to solve the problems raise TAXES.

    ljohnson247

    Your comment is confusing! Rep Susi Hamilton is a Democrat who introduced the amendment to CUT CUT CUT those salaries. The Republicans didnt see it that way. You got what you voted for!

  • ljohnson247 Mar 1, 8:06 a.m.

    Did it not state cut from $120,000 to $80,000? Is this not CUT, CUT, CUT. Yes, put the Dems back in and watch your money fly out the window. In Washinton, all you hear you hear from the DEMS is to solve the problems raise TAXES.

  • uBnice Mar 1, 7:45 a.m.

    Much like Perdue and the Democrats in NC built up a long list of cronyism, corruption, lies, and deceit, the Republicans appear to be following lock-step, even worse.

    It took the people 100 years to finally say no to the Democrats. Republicans should realize that it will not take the people another 100 years to say no to the Republicans.

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