Republican legislative leaders are in tune with the concerns of Democrat Gene Conti, who complained this week that he is underpaid as the state’s transportation secretary.
That’s why they amended the state budget this year to give North Carolina’s next governor new power to set salaries for non-elected state department heads.
“These agencies have gotten huge in terms of budget and responsibility,” said state Sen. Richard Stevens of Cary, one of the Senate’s chief budget-writers.
Conti said he took a big pay cut in 2009 when he gave up a private-sector job to take charge of DOT, with its $4 billion budget and 12,000 employees. Stevens agreed with Conti that the statutory salary limit – $121,807 this year for the heads of DOT and seven other agencies – could make it hard for the state to attract the best administrators. ... [MORE]