WRAL Investigates

Records show state employees' children got high-paying jobs

Posted April 26, 2012
Updated April 27, 2012

— North Carolina’s Division of Emergency Management has put two assistant directors on paid leave while the agency investigates reports of nepotism.

The WRAL Investigates team obtained records that show the sons and daughters of two high-ranking and four lower-level employees got unadvertised, high-paying jobs to work on disaster relief last year.

Emergency Management deployed staff to the worst-hit areas after two natural disasters last year – the April 16 tornadoes and Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27.

After the storms killed dozens of people, destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands homeless, the agency added temporary workers, called disaster reservists, many of whom are former state workers or people who have worked in disaster areas before.

However, last year’s reservist list included names of employees’ sons and daughters who had no experience in disaster relief.

Assistant director Steve Sloan’s son, Steven Sloan, scored a community relations job after both events, making $20.92 an hour. The state paid him a total of $43,391.53, which included overtime pay, hotel and meals.

Assistant director Emily Young’s daughter, Jessica Kilpatrick, worked on the governor’s hotline after the tornadoes and made $18.18 an hour, for a total of $2,225.08, which included overtime pay.

Both assistant directors were put on a 30-day leave on March 27, but were still receiving their nearly $70,000 salaries as of Thursday. Ernie Seneca Nepotism investigated in state emergency management division

“I actually don't think I did anything wrong,” Steve Sloan said. “I didn't have oversight over anyone. I knew, of course, my son, but everybody else, I had no idea.”

The agency’s family friendliness didn’t end there. Records show lower-level employees’ children also benefited.

Community development specialist Carole Ingram’s son, Addison Ingram III, worked in community relations after Hurricane Irene and made $16.90 an hour, for a total of $19,226.67, which included overtime pay, hotel and meals. Her daughter, Addisondra Ingram, worked in community relations after the tornadoes and made $17.57 an hour, for a total of $4,193.26, which included overtime pay.

Donna Latimer was an individual assistance coordinator and recently left the agency. Her son, Brian Latimer, worked in community relations after both disasters and made $20.96 an hour, for a total of $30,552.73, which included overtime pay, hotel and meals.

Community development specialist Willie Mae Cox’s daughter, Quatrice Cox, worked on the governor’s hotline for both disasters and made $20.30 an hour, for a total of $30,629.56, which included overtime pay, hotel and meals.

Community development specialist Patty Moyer's daughter, Jennifer Moyer, worked on the governor's hotline following the tornadoes and made $17.26 an hour, for a total of $4,000.66, which included overtime pay.

“When we became aware of who was on this list and that family members were being hired, we had concerns, too,” said Ernie Seneca, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

Seneca released a statement Thursday, saying "the work status of Carole Ingram, Patty Moyer and Willie Mae Cox remains unchanged." He added that "an internal investigation was initiated and appropriate disciplinary action has been implemented. The investigation continues and additional action will be taken as appropriate.” He did not explain what disciplinary action was taken.

Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell issued a memo on March 19, changing the agency’s hiring practices, especially for temporary employees. He also included a copy of the state’s policy on nepotism. Among the changes, Hoell wrote, Temporary Solutions, a separate state agency, will now handle the advertising, recruitment, screening and recommendation of candidates for the agency’s temporary employment needs.

“Once this came to light, the department took immediate steps,” Seneca said, adding that the next time a disaster hits, the most qualified people will get the jobs, not the most connected. “Family members should not be supervising family members.”

The WRAL Investigates team showed the employment records to lieutenant governor candidate Linda Coleman, who was director of the Office of State Personnel last year.

“That is absolutely wrong to do. It sends to the public a message that, in state government, there are no rules,” she said. “When positions are paid for with public dollars, everyone should have equal opportunity to apply.”

At a time when people are struggling to find work, the family ties in the disaster reservist program didn't sit well with some job seekers.

“Seems like a classic case of nepotism. I don't know what else they may call it in the workplace. I don't think it's fair,” said John Kopensky, who was looking for a job at the state Division of Employment Security office in Raleigh. “The privileged will get the first choice at those opportunities – friends of friends of friends.”

The WRAL Investigates team found that friends of some of the employees’ children got temporary jobs as disaster reservists as well. However, that is not covered by the state's nepotism policy.

Job-seeker Shaina Brown said, had she known about the jobs, she would have been interested in applying.

“Absolutely,” she said. “(This was) special treatment. I mean, it’s unfair to the public, especially if it’s state jobs.”


Read more WRAL Investigates stories or contact the WRAL Investigates team.

238 Comments

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  • AS Apr 27, 5:13 p.m.

    "HIGH PAID JOBS"-$20 or $18/hour????????
    What about people who were/are hired because of whom they know and making $50-$80/hour?
    Rules are to be followed by poor people.

  • SmokeWagon Apr 27, 5:02 p.m.

    ..."Why are so many people excusing this just because it happens in the private sector?..."

    Huh???...the last I checked "private business" was just that P-R-I-V-A-T-E..they can hire whome ever they want...it's THEIR money!!! Public jobs are paid for with public T-A-X $D-O-L-L-A-R-S$...THAT is the differance...!!!!!! Duuuuhhhhhh!!!

  • SmokeWagon Apr 27, 4:58 p.m.

    ..."NOW THEY NEED TO DO ONE THROUGH INVESTIGATION IN TO THE CORRUPT PRACTICES WITHIN THE NCDOT ..."

    Yes...and ALSO investigate WHY NC buyes the majority of it's products and services form out of state....NOT SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • SmokeWagon Apr 27, 4:56 p.m.

    ..."Now who hired or appointed the parents and what was their political affiliation. Democrats, I bet! jdupree..."

    LOL.....when are you people ever going to understand that for the last 50 years entitlement, good ol' boy, "enlightened" democrats have run this state into the ground??????...this is there legacy coming back to haunt them....!!!!!

  • pbjbeach Apr 27, 4:38 p.m.

    NOW THEY NEED TO DO ONE THROUGH INVESTIGATION IN TO THE CORRUPT PRACTICES WITHIN THE NCDOT AN BEING CHOPPING OFF THE HEADS OF MANGAERS ANMANGAMENT AS A WHOLE FOR THE TOP DOWN AN BEGINING WITH THE CURRENT SECETARY OF TRANSPORTATION mr. GENE CONTI AN HIS HEACH MEN THAT ARE WORKING DIRECTLY BELOW HIS AUTHORTY FOR SEVERAL LAYERS DOWN ANTHEN EXPAND IT OUTWARDS TO THE VARIOUS AGENCY HEADS THAT OVER STEP THEIR AUTHORITY ANMOST ESPECIALLY WITHIN THE NCDOT MATERIALS AN TEST UNIT THANK YOU

  • concerncitizen Apr 27, 4:33 p.m.

    I want my tax dollars back!

  • rachel Apr 27, 4:33 p.m.

    you know what is really annoying? Applying for some of these state jobs. When the boss already knows who they want to hire, the waste the time of earnest candidates by interviewing 1 or 2 more-so they can tell the higher ups they have interviewed 3 candidates, and then they can pick one- their pre-arranged buddy. There is nothing worse to go to then the interview where the hiring manager is just going through the motions with you and the position is already filled in their mind. It also shows a tremendous lack of respect for a person's time as well-and this goes no all the time.

  • james27613 Apr 27, 4:33 p.m.

    These jobs should be given to state workers that
    had experience and were in process of RIF or already laid off
    from their jobs.

  • jdupree Apr 27, 4:32 p.m.

    Now who hired or appointed the parents and what was their political affiliation. Democrats, I bet!

  • Comfortably Numb Apr 27, 4:26 p.m.

    They've been fired.

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