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State Government
Gov. Pat McCrory Re-Establishes N.C. Early Childhood Advisory Council PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 15:38

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - A council that oversees early childhood services and grants for North Carolinians is back at work, and featured on a new website, thanks to Executive Order #37 signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.

Members of the North Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council are tasked with creating and sustaining a shared vision for young children and a comprehensive, integrated system of family strengthening services, according to the governor's office. The council oversees North Carolina’s Early Childhood System Building Grant issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant also falls under the purview of the council.
"The quality of care during early childhood can often determine the level of success a person achieves later in life," Governor McCrory said in a statement. "The state of North Carolina is committed to giving parents every tool they need to make sure all of North Carolina's children start life healthy, happy and eager to learn."
 Many statewide childhood services may be found through a new website designed to be one-stop shopping for early childhood information. The site can be accessed at www.earlychildhood.nc.gov/. 
This website will serve as a portal for any North Carolinians interested in any support or services for children from birth to age 5. Information available includes Pre-Kindergarten programs, flu shots, childcare and more.
Executive Order 37 can be found at http://governor.nc.gov/newsroom/executive-order/20140109/executive-order-no-37-reestablishing-north-carolina-early. 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 15:39
More Than 3,000 State Employees Receive Pay Raises Averaging 4.2 Percent PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 15:05

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) State employees in high-demand areas have received pay raises that were authorized by the state legislature in order to reduce turnover. Impacted professions include medicine, accounting, auditing, and information technology.

In all, 3,221 state employees will get an average 4.2 percent salary increase, according to the announcement of the raise. Approximately 1,200 nurses and 600 law enforcement employees will receive increases up to 4 percent while the remainder of employees will receive varying increases of up to 10 percent.
Authorization for the raises is contained in the budget bill passed last year. 
Approximately $7.5 million was allocated to address market conditions, job responsibility changes and pay equity. The state’s universities did not receive monies from this salary adjustment because these institutions have access to other funding resources, the statement said. 
The pay hike will bring salaries for some jobs up to par with those paid in the private sector. The majority of the funds -- 73 percent -- are in this category.
Job change monies will be used for employees who assumed greater job responsibilities but have not been compensated because of a salary freeze. Nearly one quarter of the allocated funds will be used in this category -- 24 percent.
Two percent of the funds will be used to lessen the wage dis
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 15:06
Gov. Pat McCrory Lays Out Legislative, Administrative Priorities For 2014 PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 11:59

RALEIGH, (SGRToday.com) - Gov. Pat McCrory laid out a wide ranging set of priorities for 2014 at a news conference Monday, including a push for teacher pay raises and putting North Carolina in the energy exploration business. The governor also renewed his support for First Lady Ann McCrory's signature intiative: a law that would require reform of puppy mills. 

Flanked by members of his Cabinet and other key state officials who gathered at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, the governor and others spoke for nearly 45 minutes, answering questions from news media following prepared remarks.
Following are Gov. McCrory's priorities, as released by his office.
Increasing energy production, leveraging transportation connections and expanding the military’s presence in North Carolina are three initiatives the governor vowed to pursue to stimulate economic growth and job creation. 
Powering the Economy: Energy Exploration
Governor McCrory said North Carolina must increase production of the state’s energy resources. The governor personally requested a meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss seismic testing off North Carolina and other coastal states, a first step toward more offshore energy production. Governor McCrory will soon become chairman of the multi-state Governors’ Outer Continental Shelf Coalition, which advocates for more offshore energy exploration.
Renewable energy development also received the governor’s support, as well as the development of regulations that will allow for the safe, environmentally responsible exploration of inland natural gas and oil. Governor McCrory has tasked the newly reorganized Energy Policy Council, which includes Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary John Skvarla and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker, to develop an inclusive, long-term energy plan for the state.
Governor’s Transportation Vision: Moving People, Moving Products 
To keep people and products moving and the economy growing, Governor McCrory said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata will unveil a 25-year plan that will focus on leveraging transportation needs and assets, such as roads, rail, ports and airports. Additionally, Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Klutz will be in charge of “Art That Moves You,” a transportation beautification program that will promote tourism through the use of creative landscaping, artwork and lighting.
Promoting and Protecting Our Military
Increasing the military’s $30 billion annual contribution to the state’s domestic product will be another major economic push in 2014. Last year, the governor signed legislation that protects military operations in North Carolina from encroachment. He and Military Advisor Cornell Wilson also met with senior Pentagon officials to discuss expanding defense contracting in North Carolina. The governor also tasked Wilson and Veterans Affairs Advisor Illario Pantano with increasing job and education opportunities for recently separated veterans so they make North Carolina their permanent home. The governor said the high-level training and discipline veterans receive during their military service greatly enhances the state’s labor pool.
Funding Our Future: Investing in Education/Teacher Compensation
The governor's education plan would increase pay for K-12 teachers and boost starting pay to attract and keep talented teachers in the classroom. The plan would also reward highly productive teachers and those in high-demand subjects, such as mathematics and the sciences. Full details of the Results, Rewards, Respect plan will be unveiled in the coming weeks by Senior Education Advisor Eric Guckian, who has been working with lawmakers. Some elements of the plan will be introduced during the General Assembly’s upcoming session.   
Collegiate Wellness Initiative
Reducing substance abuse and underage drinking among college students is the aim of a new initiative headed by Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry and ABC Commission Chairman Jim Gardner. Underage drinking will be targeted through the enforcement of existing laws. To deal with substance abuse, the governor called for increased support of recovery programs.
Putting Patients First: Medicaid Reform
Medicaid reform continues to be a top efficiency goal, not only to get costs under control, but to improve patient care. The governor wants Medicaid to treat the whole person, including mental health needs, and not just treat a patient’s physical symptoms. Since she took office, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos has gathered feedback from patients, doctors, nurses, hospital executives and lawmakers for a collaborative “Partnership For A Healthy North Carolina.”
Driving Change: DMV Modernization
Increasing the customer friendliness and modernization of the Department of Motor Vehicles will continue in 2014. New business practices and the increased use of technology will build upon the gains realized in 2013. Last year, 19 driver license offices extended their evening and Saturday hours for customer convenience.
Wait times in North Raleigh and Cary were reduced by adding greeters to direct customers to kiosks for walk-up service. Nick Tennyson, Department of Transportation chief deputy secretary of support, is leading this effort.
Rebuilding NC: State Capital Projects
Work will continue in earnest to renovate, repair and rebuild state facilities to increase workplace safety, and where possible, appearance. The need is glaring. During the recent cold snap some work places in the Secretary of State’s Office could only be heated to 45 degrees. Secretary of Administration Bill Daughtridge Jr. and DENR Secretary John Skvarla are heading up this project.
NCGEAR: Too Big To Succeed
The North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform (NCGEAR) initiative is charged with performing a top-to-bottom review and analysis to see that state government is using tax dollars effectively. NCGEAR will tackle large issues, not trim around the edges, so that government agencies are not too big to succeed. State Budget Director Art Pope is leading the NCGEAR program to review policy, personnel and organization of state agencies.
Working For Workplace Safety: Workers’ Comp Reform
Striving For Success: Performance Management
State Personnel Director Neal Alexander will head up two efficiency efforts. One will increase workplace safety with the intent of reducing injuries and workers’ compensation costs. The other is increasing employee, productivity, satisfaction and engagement by implementing a uniform performance management system. DENR has already piloted this project, and after adjustments, it will be implemented in other state agencies.
First Lady Initiative: Puppy Protection Program
The governor and first lady will continue to work for a law that provides basic standards of care for animals by large commercial dog breeders. These standards include food and water, sufficient space, regular exercise and routine veterinary care for dogs and puppies.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 12:01
N.C. Court Of Appeals To Weigh Conflicting Rulings On Parole Option For Teenage Killers PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 20 January 2014 15:24

FAYETTEVILLE, (AP) — North Carolina judges have made conflicting rulings on whether dozens of prisoners serving life sentences for killings committed when they were teens should have a chance at parole after 25 years.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that the state Court of Appeals is deciding the case.
The issue came up when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that some murder defendants sentenced to life in prison without parole for crimes committed when they were younger than 18 should have a chance at parole because they shouldn't be treated as adults.
The justices didn't say if the ruling should be applied to 88 teens already sentenced in the state. Judges in Robeson, Buncombe and Davidson counties ruled it should be, while judges in Cumberland and Guilford counties ruled it should not.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 January 2014 15:24

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