Sunday sampler

Burlington — The Times-News reminds readers that every time you are stopped by police, your demographics are recorded and sent to the SBI. Neat, huh? It’s done to “ensure that officers aren’t demonstrating a pattern of disproportionately stopping drivers of a given race, sex or age.” Sounds preventive and it seems obvious that this would be recorded and stored somewhere, but given the recent spying/eavesdropping controversies on the federal level, this is good to know.

Charlotte — Watch crime shows on TV and you get one idea of how autopsies work. In real life, read the Observer. The Observer also found that pathologists in the state’s chief medical examiner’s office in Raleigh routinely do more than 250 autopsies a year – heavy caseloads that experts say can lead to mistakes. Oh, and you’ll find the Department of Health and Human Services involved; as is its wont, its spokesman says, hey, no problem.

Fayetteville— The Observer is starting a year-long focus on crime to help with finding solutions. With good reason, too. Last year, Fayetteville had at least 13,163 burglaries and thefts – an average of 36 a day — and at least 1,186 violent crimes, such as robberies or assaults. For many victims, the crime forever shook their sense of safety and their view of Fayetteville. I love the ambition and commitment.

Raleigh— Those zero-to-little pay raises public employees are getting? Yeah, well, some of them don’t need a raise; they’re making hundreds of thousands of dollars already, as the News & Observer reports. But the pay deals are often done behind closed doors, with little explanation afterward. That’s because the state’s personnel law considers evaluations private. In at least two cases, these local boards have maneuvered to get around salary restrictions set by a state agency and the U.S. Congress. Public records show these officials’ pay is often augmented by perks that rank-and-file employees never get, or receive in much smaller amounts, according to the newspaper’s review of data for more than 435,000 employees from 1,216 state and local agencies. The chief executive officer of a government-created nonprofit that purchases electricity for municipalities receives a $53,000 bonus each year just for staying on the job. 

High Point — A city council member has owed the city $32,000 for 10 years. A few months ago, he said he would pay it, but, naturally, he hasn’t. The Enterprise continues to hold his feet to the fire, perhaps to embarrass him into paying, perhaps to let constituents know what type of shenanigans he’s playing, perhaps to pressure the other council members into kicking their fellow member’s butt. All good reasons for a good story.
Wilmington — It seems that in government, if you’re near the top, you get all kinds of sweet deals. We’ve seen it in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and now the Star-News shows it in New Hanover county government.  The lead: The current New Hanover County manager is intentionally violating county personnel policy to fatten the compensation of several of his top department managers. In this case, it involve paid leave time. I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t happening at all levels of government across the state.


2 thoughts on “Sunday sampler

  1. I’ve long argued that, except for specific health-related information, all publilc employees’ performance evaluations should be public at all levels. Also, is Pat McCrory evaluating the performances of state employees who report directly to him? Don’t be silly, but if he were, I imagine his eval of Aldona Wos would make interesting reading.

  2. Your blurb about the Medical Examiner’s office is logical, but what many don’t know is in many communities, the Medical Examiner is not a doctor. Some are Dentists or worse, just local businessmen.

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