Gov. Bev Perdue says she supports reforming the personnel law in the upcoming legislative session that beings Wednesday. She says she will draft legislation if no one else does.
“State personnel law is critical to me,” Perdue said in a recent interview. “. . . I’m seeing the possibility that [Senate Democrats] are going to come forward with something that releases [more] personnel data. I hope they do. If not, we’ll do it.”
Perdue, a New Bern Democrat, is the third state leader to propose opening up the personnel law, which a recent News & Observer
Perdue said she would support making salary and employment histories public. North Carolina appears to be the only state in the nation that limits personnel information for public employees to their current salaries and positions.
"My gut is once it was public, it should always remain public," Perdue said.
Perdue also said that disciplinary actions for teachers should be public. If they were, the Pitt County school district might have known last year about two suspensions served by former New Hanover County schools teacher Jessica Wishnask. She had been suspended for improper contact with a student.
But the New Hanover district did not share that information with Pitt County. Shortly after Pitt hired Wishnask, she was arrested for having sex with that student. She is now in prison serving time for taking indecent liberties with a minor.
“I really think it has to be public record,” said Perdue, a former teacher. “I don’t care what other people think, and what the lawyers think or not. I think the people have a right to know.”
Perdue was less sure about hiring information. She appeared to think that information such as the resumes of winning job candidates are public record under the personnel law. They are not.