N.C. Senator criticizes pay raises at state agency

North Carolina State Senator Gene McLaurin (D-25) is taking issue with salary increases awarded at the state Department of Health and Human Services.

130822_NCDHHS_Logo_BlueIn an Aug. 16 letter sent to DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, McLaurin asked her to rescind raises reportedly given to two top aides in April 2013. The letter claims that raises in excess of $22,000 each were given to two 24-year-old employees, raising their total annual salaries to more than $85,000 each.

Sen. McLaurin’s letter said the raises appear to have been given at a time when Governor Pat McCrory had “asked executive agency heads … to implement a salary and hiring freeze.”

N.C. Sen. Gene McLaurin (D-25), left, wrote state Health & Human Service Director Aldona Wos Aug. 16, 2013 to ask that she rescind some pay raises McLaurin says were awarded during the Governor's freeze on hiring and salary increases. (N.C. government photos)

N.C. Sen. Gene McLaurin (D-25), left, wrote state Health & Human Service Director Aldona Wos Aug. 16, 2013 to ask that she rescind some pay raises McLaurin says were awarded during the Governor’s freeze on hiring and salary increases. (N.C. government photos)

McLaurin continued, saying DHHS “has awarded salary increases totaling $1.7 million since the Governor’s hiring and salary freeze.” The Senator’s correspondence said other “state employees, teachers and highway patrolmen have received no pay raise this year,” and that the DHHS salary action “sends the wrong message to state employees and taxpayers….”

Aldona Wos is a medical doctor and former Ambassador to Estonia under President George W. Bush, and she has been applauded for refusing all but one dollar of her own state salary.

WMTG’s attempts Wednesday to get a statement on the salary situation were not answered by the DHHS Public Affairs Office.

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