The executive director of one of the state's largest employee groups says his organization supports the personnel law reforms as introduced in a Senate bill this week.
The omnibus ethics bill introduced by Senate leaders would make salary and employment histories public for most state and local employees. North Carolina appears to be the only state that limits public personnel information to an employee's current salary or position.
Dana Cope, executive director for the State Employees Association of North Carolina, had said in our recent series about the personnel law, Keeping Secrets, that he saw little issue with making that information public. So, it was not a surprise that he raised no objections when the bill was rolled out in a judiciary committee meeting Tuesday.
"I was surprised, frankly, that the law prohibited that information anyway," Cope said today.
Cope said he would have a problem if the legislation also opened up the release of information related to disciplinary actions. He said too many employees suffer discipline for political reasons, and that pain shouldn't be compounded by making the details public.
On the other hand, he said employees convicted of criminal misconduct should not enjoy such protections.
"In criminal activity, we support the opening of those records," he said.
Gov. Bev Perdue has submitted language that would make public personnel records related to criminal behavior, but that proposal did not make the Senate bill. Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, meanwhile, is pushing to make the details of disciplinary actions public.
The Senate bill had been slated for a vote on the Senate floor only to be pulled back over concerns in an unrelated provision that would provide public financing for several statewide campaigns. It is back before the Senate judiciary committee for more discussion.