Department of Public Safety reorganization appears rooted in budget spat

Posted October 14, 2015

Lorrie Dollar

— A reorganization at the Department of Public Safety appears to have claimed the job held by the wife of a chief budget writer.

DPS Secretary Frank Perry issued a memo Monday announcing that he was reorganizing the top echelon of his agency. Left off the organizational chart are Lorrie Dollar, who had been the department's chief operating officer, and William Crews, who had overseen administration.

Still listed among those reporting to Perry is Gregory Baker, whose job had been eliminated by the state budget.

Dollar is the wife of Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, the state House budget chairman who oversaw construction of the budget that eliminated Baker's job.

When asked if Lorrie Dollar was still employed by DPS, agency spokeswoman Pamela Walker replied via email, "We have already been working to identify great opportunities in state government for those involved in this reorganization."

Walker did not respond to a request for clarification.

The agency has not yet responded to a request for all positions eliminated or created since the passage of the state budget.

"As part of our ongoing efforts to make state government more efficient and accountable, several changes are being made to the DPS organizational structure to consolidate the DPS leadership team and functions," Perry's memo reads.

The memo then goes on to list senior division leaders, including the department's general counsel and communications director.

Neither Lorrie nor Nelson Dollar could be reached for comment.

A lawyer, Lorrie Dollar started working for DPS in 2013 after serving in a number of government roles, including as chief deputy auditor for former State Auditor Les Merritt.

The state budget runs hundreds of pages and tweaks state spending through both broad directives, such as providing $750 bonuses to most rank-and-file workers, to micromanaging specific positions.

Provisions in the state budget dealing with DPS moved supervision of the the State Capitol Police under the State Highway Patrol and made it clear that the patrol would report directly to the DPS secretary. A corresponding provision eliminated the job of "Commissioner of Law Enforcement," who had overseen the patrol, specifying the position down to the job number.

Typically, such a provision would have the effect of laying off the individual in the particular job affected.

That job had been held by Baker, who for a short time headed the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement after coming to the state from the FBI. Perry is also a former FBI agent.

But instead of ending Baker's run with the agency, he will take up a new role, apparently crafted by merging the now-eliminated positions once occupied by Dollar and Crews.


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