Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory says he has full confidence in Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos despite a spate of recent stories questioning the credentials of those hired as contractors and senior administrative positions.
"I'm not going to get distracted into the detailed operations for which my secretaries are responsible," McCrory said Wednesday.
Regarding Wos, he said, "I've never met a more dedicated harder working public servant in my 25 years of public service." Asked if Wos had his full support, McCrory said "absolutely."
Recent DHHS hires that have been in the news have included:
- Margaret "Mardy" Peal, who will make $95,000 as senior planner despite having little by way of publicly verifiable public policy experience. Peal was a donor to the McCrory campaign and briefly involved in the start up of a tea party group.
- Joe Hauck, who records show the state health agency paid $228,000 for work done from late January through August to advise the secretary on "strategic planning. Hauck is a long-time employee of Wos' husband.
- A pair of young former campaign staffers given high-paying and high-profile jobs within the department.
Asked about Peal, McCrory said, "I don't know Mardy. Well, I may have met her. I may know her, but I'm not sure if I do."
Asked if he was concerned about the scrutiny DHHS has faced, McCrory said it was that scrutiny itself that is the problem.
"I do want to say one concern I have right now, and I will say I read the article today, one concern I have in the future for all the future hires that my cabinet secretaries have to make is that is – I'm extremely concerned at the deep –" McCrory said, pausing.
He then re-started his thought.
"I'm very concerned in hiring future people who want to come into state government for a temporary amount of time, the intrusion into their personal life by people, political operatives and others, that will distract people from wanting to be engaged in public service for a year or two," he said. "That's my one concern about what I read this morning."
The salary, recent raises and other information about how much public employees made are public records, as are the contracts given to contract employees.