Raleigh, N.C. — Lawmakers have directed their staff to draft legislation that would prevent state employees overseeing large state contracts from going to work for the private companies that provide those services.
That move comes after legislators learned this fall that Paul Guthery, a former IT manager at the Department of Health and Human Services, went from managing Computer Sciences Corp.'s contract to build and manage the troubled NCTracks Medicaid billing system to working for the company.
"It is the feeling of this committee that we would like to begin to draft legislation that would address this issues," said Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, the chairwoman of the legislature's Program Evaluation Oversight Committee.
The committee oversees the work of the state's in-house investigation division and frequently reviews reports offered by State Auditor Beth Wood.
State ethics laws provide for cooling-off period for lawmakers and other "covered persons" before they can lobby state government. But Guthery's case unveiled a loophole in state law that good government watchdogs say should be closed.
Wood gave a presentation to the committee Wednesday and answered questions from committee members. She said she would provide information on how other states handle these sorts of revolving-door issues.
Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Madison, asked Wood if Guthery's change from a government employee to a contractor had anything to do with some of the problems her office found with the system.
"In our post-implementation NCTracks audit, we did find that things were not being taken care of as soon as the should be," she said, adding that those problems could not be directly traced to Guthery's change in employment.