Musical chairs for Keller, Etheridge

Friday brought some major reshuffling for several high-ranking officials in the state's executive branch.

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Col. Alvin Keller
Laura Leslie

Friday brought some major reshuffling in the state's executive branch. 

Gov. Bev Perdue's office announced that former Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge will leave his current post as NC's stimulus czar for a three-month job leading the state's Hurricane Irene recovery. His salary will remain the same - $98,500 a year - but will be funded for the next three months by a grant from the NC Rural Center.  

Perdue spokeswoman Chris Mackey said Etheridge's work in the recovery office was beginning to wind down, but hurricane response was ramping up. "We needed his expertise to get what we needed from Washington for the victims of Irene,"  Mackey explained.

Mackey said Etheridge's Office of Economic Recovery and Investment would remain staffed, and she expects an interim director will be named. Etheridge could return to it down the road. 

This afternoon, Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Reuben Young announced his "senior leadership" team for the new Department of Public Safety, which will combine the Departments of Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and Crime Control and Public Safety. Perdue recently tapped Young to lead the new DPS.

Current Juvenile Justice Secretary Linda Hayes will stay on to lead her new division, and current CCPS Deputy Chief Rudy Rudisill will lead that division.

But current Corrections Secretary Alvin Keller won't be heading his division in the new DPS.  Deputy Corrections Secretary Jennie Lancaster will lead it instead.  

In a statement this afternoon, Keller expressed "utmost confidence" in the new leadership team, and praised his department's accomplishments over the past three years.

"I am committed to staying through the transition," Keller said. "An announcement will be made about my future state service when appropriate."




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