A local civil litigation attorney, who specializes in public entities/municipalities law, has cautioned the NHC School Board that if it decides to increase the percentage of free and reduced lunch students (F&R) in Wilmington’s Williston and D.C. Virgo middle schools beyond 50 percent for the sake of maintaining neighborhood schools, it could face a federal complaint from the NC NAACP similar to what the civil rights group announced against the Wayne County Public School System last week. (Read more @ The Wilmington Journal)
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Welcome to this week`s electronic update from NC SPIN.
As we head into Christmas week we’ll ask our panel to talk about more stories involving official misconduct, we’ll discuss why we are fourth in the number of student suspensions, the end of the safe haven for business in the Senate, and once again discuss those inmates seeking release. Be sure to tune in! For a list of stations, visit ncspin.com. Time not convenient? Set your TiVO, old time VCR, or watch the streaming version at your convenience from our website. Tell your friends to do the same!
The panel includes: Chris Fitzsimon, Director of NC Policy Watch; John Hood, President of the John Locke Foundation; former House Speaker Joe Mavretic; and Elaine Mejia, Director of the NC Budget and Tax Center. Tom Campbell will moderate the discussion.
Tom Campbell`s Spin
There are exciting things happening in public education to help students prepare for their futures. Check out Tom Campbell’s spin, Getting Ready for Life.
The owner of the Carolina Panthers was born in this community. Check out this week’s Carolina Community, host of an annual pumpkin festival.
Heard on the Street
Weather forcasters are trying very hard not to create widespread panic but it looks like much of our state might be seeing white this weekend, either from the event Friday or another one late Saturday. Chances are good it will be long gone before the jolly old elf makes his rounds on December 24th but if we see snow it will certainly excite the little ones…of all ages.
‘Tis the season to be….unpopular
North Carolina residents may have a ho-ho-ho on their lips but they have no-no-no in their hearts for politicians. Take a look at the latest numbers:
Senator Richard Burr, facing his first re-election appears at this moment to have trouble. A recent poll by Civitas shows him trailing a generic Democrat. For those not familiar with pollspeak, this terminology reports Burr’s numbers against ANY Democrat. PPP, the polling group that admits its Democratic leanings, shows it a bit different. Their recent poll shows Burr leading 42-41 against the generic D. When put against special candidates the results show:
Richard Burr 42 – Elaine Marshall 37
Richard Burr 43 – Kenneth Lewis 37
Richard Burr 45 – Cal Cunningham 36
Even as Marshall got endorsements from two powerful women’s groups (National Organization for Women and Women’s Campaign Forum) it is obvious that Cunningham is the fair-haired child. No less than the President calls Cal to chat him up. Can Dems afford to alienate women?
Burr’s negatives are the problem. He has a 35 percent favorable and 37 percent unfavorable rating, according to PPP. Independents are abandoning him. The poll points out that at this same point in the election cycle two years ago Dole held a 51-39 lead over Kay Hagan. Burr has been more visible than Elizabeth Dole but PPP says voters just don’t know him. Can we foresee a name recognition campaign coming soon?
Burr isn’t alone, however. Despite the avalanche of TV ads telling us to call Kay Hagan, PPP projects that Hagan may not be very well known in the state. Her numbers show 36 percent of the voters approve of the job she is doing while 44 percent disapprove. Only 57 percent of Dems approve, while 29 percent of Independents and only 9 percent of the GOP voters like the job she is doing.
This should give some comfort to Governor Perdue. After ticking up a bit last month, the Governor’s approval is now 27 percent. She is one of the eight most unpopular governors in the country. As PPP suggests, not only is re-election problematic but she doesn’t have much clout with the legislature which will come to town in May.
Dems caucusing in Raleigh
North Carolina Democrats are caucusing in Raleigh to discuss the 2010 elections. We are told that even with poor approval ratings as reflected in polls the mood is very upbeat. House Speaker Joe Hackney feels confident that the Democrats may gain two or three seats in next November’s elections.
But there is increasing speculation that Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight will not run again, despite what he is publicly saying. We also hear that even though Senator Charles Albertson says he will run again that he is going to hang it up, especially since the large agriculture producers might back DA Dewey Hudson in a primary. If Senator R.C. Soles doesn’t run we hear that former House member David Redwine from Ocean Isle will run and that Bill Saffo, Mayor of Wilmington, will seek the Democratic nomination for Julia Boseman’s Senate seat, with Thom Goolsby being the Republican challenger.
State Employees are mounting a major campaign to unseat incumbents, including House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman. We were told that the mantra is “no walking wounded.”
We also hear that GOP Chair Tom Fetzer is raising buckets full of money from Republicans who smell victory next year following all the corruption scandals. They are also working hard to recruit credible candidates to run.
Mark your calendars. NC SPIN will present a special edition on January 10th with Fetzer and a ranking Democratic Party official (no word yet) talking about the state of political parties in our state and how they will fare in 2010.
No judicial rankings
One thing that won’t be included in the 2010 elections will be a reporting of judicial evaluations. The North Carolina Bar Association has long advocated some system for reporting to the public how well district and superior court judges conduct their courts. Former Supreme Court Justice Rhoda Billings headed a committee that sent an evaluation survey to judges, DA’s and court officials asking for evaluations. The hope was that these evaluations could be compiled and reported in time for the 2010 judicial elections.
Judges from top to bottom were livid we were told, saying that sample sizes were not sufficient to draw concrete conclusions. We understand the outcry was loud and even appellate judges were employed to halt the report. When we talked with a representative from the Bar Association we were told evaluation by Billings’ committee was that no report will be released.
As long as North Carolina insists on electing judges there needs to be some way of determining which judges are or are not effective in administering justice. The NC Bar Association has not given up on this effort but there will be no such reporting for the 2010 elections. This could be an interesting discussion for a future NC SPIN.
Perdue scorned for scorning judges
And Bev seems to keep digging the hole for herself deeper. The Governor was indignant in responding to Judge Ripley Rand’s decision to release two inmates sentenced to life imprisonment during the 1970’s who had sued the state. This whole case is bizarre but the Trial Lawyers took Perdue to the woodshed for her remarks about the verdict. This indignation may play well with the voters but it isn’t winning friends among the courthouse gang.
For more interesting discussion about this topic be sure to catch this week’s NC SPIN.
Easley troubles continue
Ruffin Poole, former legal counsel to Governor Easley will testify before the State Board of Elections this afternoon at 4 p.m. Many think Poole will invoke his 5th Amendment rights and won’t say much because he is also a target of a federal investigation surrounding his role in helping obtain DENR permits for developers who were friendly with Easley. Many believe the fact that the hearing was scheduled for 4 p.m. indicates this won’t be long but they want to get Poole on the record. Today’s News and Observer reports DENR officials admit Poole approached them about expediting permits.
Meanwhile three more DENR employees are called to testify before the Grand Jury.
We learned that the former governor must be plenty worried about his situation. He hired Joe Cheshire, one of the top lawyers in the state in criminal defense. Cheshire is also one of the most expensive. Given Mr. Easley’s penchant for squeezing a buck this speaks volumes.
More discussion on this week’s NC SPIN.
Edwards problems continue
A former aide to former Senator John Edwards is preparing to release his new book and accusations are flying about what it says about John Edwards’ affair and a reported child from that liaison. Meanwhile talk around North Carolina swirls about Rielle Hunter, the woman involved in the affair.
Folks in Charlotte are saying that Edwards has bought a home for Rielle and the baby. According to the Charlotte O a private trust with connections to Edwards purchased a home in the Eastover section of Charlotte for $535,000. No name is given on the trust documents but the treasurer of the trust is Maria Lynch, a Raleigh attorney who is treasurer of the trust Edwards set up in honor of his son who died.
People in Southport are convinced their community will be the new home for Hunter. Rumors have been abundant about homes supposedly inspected and/or bought for Hunter in the port town.
WRAL news reported that Edwards and others boarded a private jet owned by “Bunny” Mellon, a supporter for Edwards’ presidential campaign. According to the report the plane traveled to the Mellon farm in Upperville, Va. WRAL was tipped that the jet was coming into RDU and filmed the event. But we also understand the feds were there filming.
Just what Edwards discussed with the 99 year old heiress is unknown but legal eagles say she might be called as a witness in the investigation into Edwards’ campaign finances. If true, Edwards might face an additional charge of witness tampering.
Where’s there is smoke….
A second official of the LEA company chaired by Senator Tony Rand has accused the powerful legislator of trying to manipulate stock prices in the firm. The plot thickens.
All the discussion about the conduct of public officials calls into question the honest services provision of the federal law that requires all corporate and public officials to provide honest service in the conduct of their office. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments as to the validity of this law and is expected to rule in coming weeks on the matter. It was this law that helped Michael Decker, former Congressman Frank Ballance and Kevin Geddings. If this law is struck down it might impact former Governor Mike Easley positively. Read an interesting edit in the Charlotte O and stay tuned for this topic to be discussed on a future NC SPIN.
Revenue numbers bad
State revenues continue to fall about 1.5 percent below projections. Through the first five months of the state’s fiscal year this amounts to some $115 million below budget. Seasoned observers say the unemployment picture bodes more red ink next year and some are projecting a $350 million deficit by year’s end.
How will the state fill this deficit? Legislators won’t raise taxes in an election year and they have shown they haven’t effectively reduced the size of government. Tax reform, by most all estimates, won’t happen in the short session. While many legislators don’t like the notion, there is a growing sense that the state will legalize and tax video poker. Estimates are that revenues could exceed $450 million per year. Video sweepstakes machines are spreading like kudzu and are raking in big dollars. We picked up info that one site in Raleigh is raking in as much as $6,000 per night. Video poker proponents have to close the deal by getting public opinion behind them but this is looking more and more plausible.
But legalizing video poker could bring on a new effort by the Cherokee to get table games at their Harrah’s casino. Their position will be one of equity. If video machines are legal everywhere else they are once again disadvantaged. The Governor should allow table games to help the tribe. Might be a winning argument.
We’re number 4
The News and Observer reported that North Carolina has the fourth highest number of student suspensions of any state in the nation. Black males and special education students are disproportionately represented, according to the study. Why does NC rank so high? Whose fault is it? What can be done about this?
You can be sure NC SPIN is all over this one. Listen in for some great talk about this topic.
While on the subject of public education your reporter had the opportunity to sit with Superintendent June Atkinson this week for a private interview about public education. We were impressed and heard first-hand that new innovations are being tested to help improve k-12 schools in our state. Read more about this interview in our My Spin column, “Getting Ready for Life.”
ABC salaries ranked
As a committee is investigating the salaries paid to local ABC employees WRAL reports that the state ABC board has no control over those salaries. They are decided by the 163 local ABC boards.
WRAL lists the top 15 salaries paid to administrators and their annual sales.
NC SPIN taking orders
2010 promises to be an interesting year with elections, possible indictments, the economy and many topics to discuss. Now is a good time to make sure your organization is delivering your message to our large audience of influential viewers and listeners. There are many ways you can do so. Contact Al Leonard at (919) 832-1416 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Become a fan of the NC SPIN Facebook page and join the discussion!
Until next week, watch out for the SPIN!
Claire Cox-Woodlief, Editor
Tom Campbell, Publisher
Truer Words Were Never Spoken
The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.
Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity.
An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with
negative thinking and negative acting people.
As you grow, your associates will change.
Some of your friends will not want you to go on.
They will want you to stay where they are.
Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl.
Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream.
Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.
Never receive counsel from unproductive people.
Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the
solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to
tell you how.
Not everyone has a right to speak into your life.
You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with
the wrong person.
Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.
With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it.
Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life.
Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships.
If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl.
But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great
"A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the
kind of friends he chooses."
The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you
closely associate – for the good and the bad.
Note: Be not mistaken.
This is applicable to family as well as friends.
Yes…do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will
always be your family no matter what.
Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they
may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria
"In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our Friends."
"Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them."
"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit
in little matters.
Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude."….
Legislative Services Office
George R. Hall,
Legislative Services Officer
December 10, 2009
Vacancy Number: 1099-030120
Position: Payroll Specialist I
Hiring Range: $32,043 – $46,363
Division: Administrative Division –Financial
Closing Date: December 30, 2009 5:00 p.m.
*Vacancy number must be included on the application.
Interested applicants may obtain a General Assembly Application by requesting one from the address at the end of this announcement, by sending an electronic mail request to JudyB@ncleg.net, by calling the General Assembly Personnel Office at (919) 715-1210, or by visiting our web site at http://www.ncleg.net/NCGAInfo/Directories/Jobs.html.
EXAMPLES OF DUTIES:
· Organizes and enters all payroll related information into the General Assembly payroll system to which assigned for weekly subsistence, biweekly, or monthly payrolls and related reports.
· Enters reimbursement requests into the payroll system for payment of legislative members’ subsistence and travel.
· Reviews and considers input of employee time sheets and leave records into the payroll system as needed for payroll; works with division/organizational contacts on payroll and leave data or discusses issues with managers and employees about specialized payroll issues; consults the Payroll Supervisor on more complex issues or with actions that may create a precedent.
· Update accurately and in a timely manner, the information to be used in filing the quarterly and annual 941 form.
· Assists employees as needed with completing forms for payroll according to personnel and payroll policies; interprets and explains payroll rules, taxes, and related personnel and payroll processes; works closely with Benefits Specialist on related employee issues.
· Prepares payrolls for the General Assembly employees; enters changes for salary and payroll deductions; adds, separates or places employees on inactive status; adjusts for leave without pay and other special circumstances; applies payroll and personnel policies to each situation to ensure the correct expenditure of General Assembly funds and the correct salary payments for employees.
· Checks accuracy of payroll before running checks; runs edits for payroll; rechecks/proofs changes; checks and verifies deductions; calculates changes in salaries or deductions as required; prints checks.
· Prepares journal or accounting entries for various payroll functions.
· Works with division directors and employees on sick and vacation leave balances that may indicate overdrawn leave or to discuss leave advancement.
· Completes payroll reports to a variety of Federal and State agencies and to fringe benefits vendors.
· Generates and distributes W-2s’; answers questions on tax issues.
· Works with auditors or Payroll Supervisor on payroll procedures and policy and review documents related to payroll actions.
· Works with the applications analyst/programmers as needed in the modification or enhancement of the payroll system.
· Compiles and submits payroll/staff reports surveys and data in support of legal research projects.
· Maintains confidentiality of personnel and payroll file information in a systematic manner consistent with division and Legislative Services Office policy.
· Serves as custodian of payroll files for General Assembly employees.
· Serves in backup capacities to others in Financial Services Section.
· Performs related duties as required.
· Graduation from a two year business school or community college with a major in business administration, accounting, or related field with two years of experience at the journey level of payroll, accounting, or employee benefits work; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Preferred experience would include work in a governmental payroll environment with a full range of independent functions in processing and interpreting payroll related information.
· Ability to work independently, to organize and analyze materials, prioritize tasks, and to make responsible decisions.
· Ability to create and maintain accurate records, reports and files in support of an accounting or payroll system in an employee oriented payroll operation.
· Considerable knowledge of working within and assisting a Supervisor and Manager with payroll operation in a dynamic and rapidly changing work environment.
· General knowledge of payroll laws, rules, regulations, policies and practices to follow in the payroll function, including Fair Labor Standards Act, Family Medical Leave Act, and others that may apply.
· Working knowledge of personnel laws, rules, and regulations.
· Ability to understand and apply policies and regulations that apply to the maintenance of financial, payroll and human resources related records and reports.
· Ability to use personal computer programs for payroll calculating, posting; proficiency with adding machines and other automated equipment and software for the processing and maintenance of payroll and accounting records; ability to learn specialized accounting, payroll and HRIS systems such as GEAC.
· Ability to make arithmetic computations accurately and with reasonable speed and efficiency.
· Ability to work independently in handling cash deposits and other cashiering functions involving State funds.
· Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with division directors, supervisors, employees and the general public.
· Ability to communicate effectively in oral and written forms.
· Ability to use judgment and discretion in handling payroll and personnel related issues.
· Ability to function as a lead worker or project leader on specialized or assigned payroll matters.
· Ability to work extended schedules as needed to meet established payroll deadlines.
Application Process: Submit a General Assembly Application or State Applicationby 5:00 p.m. on December 30, 2009 to:
Room 5 Legislative Building
16 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Application Process: Submit a General Assembly Application or State Applicationby 5:00 p.m. on December 30, 2009 to:
Ruffin Poole is no longer an lawyer for the McGuireWoods law firm. A spokesman for the firm, Will Allcott, said that as of today Poole is gone. He would not say if he was fired or resigned. (Read more @ News & Observer)
TARBORO — Edgecombe County Public Schools’ Board of Education will find out by the end of this week whether they will have to find a new superintendent. (Read more @ Rocky Mount Telegram)
Please don’t buy this t-shirt: I would not wish or pray this on any Leader
Psalm 109: 8-13
8 Let his years be few; let someone else take his position
9 May his children become fatherless, and his wife a widow
10 May his children wander as beggars and be driven from their ruined homes.
11 May creditors seize his entire estate, and strangers take all he has earned.
12 Let no one be kind to him; let no one pity his fatherless children.
13 May all his offspring die. May his family name be blotted out in a single generation.
Let’s not let the enemy get over on us!!
Although this story is in the Bible, it is in the old testament about people who were oppressed. The old testament tells us what happened. The New testament, Jesus teaches us what to do and to pray for our enemies!! Like these who came up with this shirt!