McCrory veto takes stand on his appointments

Jun. 24, 2014 @ 09:53 PM

RALEIGH — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory quickly vetoed a bill that made several changes to unemployment insurance because he didn't like the way legislators changed the terms of his appointees on a board that considers final benefit appeals from the jobless.

McCrory issued the veto Tuesday, the same day he received the bill. The legislature, which finalized the measure late last week, now must decide whether to attempt to override his veto.

McCrory's veto centers on the three-member Board of Review. He appointed all of its members last December. McCrory said provisions of the bill that stagger and shorten terms of current members are unacceptable. The bill, if enacted, would force current member Keith Holliday, a former Greensboro mayor, to step down at the end of the month. The General Assembly would confirm members going forward.

"I appointed these members following a previous legislative directive that did not require confirmation for initial appointees," McCrory said in a written statement. "The three qualified, capable, and bipartisan appointees by all accounts have performed well."

This is McCrory's third veto since taking office 17 months ago. The legislature overrode the other two last year. Three-fifths of the members in the House and Senate present for a vote would have to support the override to let the bill become law without his support.

Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, the bill's chief manager in the Senate, predicted the veto would be overridden. While the Senate approved the bill by a wide margin, the House gave it final approval last week with exactly a three-fifths majority.

Rucho said McCrory put himself into this predicament by waiting too long to appoint his board members, raising the ire of lawmakers. A 2013 law said McCrory's choices for the board would not require confirmation if they were appointed before Sept. 1 of that year. But the appointments didn't occur in time.

Even under the new law, Rucho added, McCrory still "has what he wanted, which is to appoint all three members." Lawmakers had threatened to make two of the three appointments themselves going forward. Rucho said McCrory can reappoint Holliday if he chooses.

The board was established in 2011, when Democrat Beverly Perdue was governor. But board members weren't appointed during her time in office.

The McCrory administration had opposed the board altogether, calling it unnecessary and a waste of money. The chairwoman of the board makes $122,255, with the other members making $120,737.

McCrory said Tuesday the "vast majority of this bill contains much needed revisions to unemployment insurance law." The bill would require benefit recipients to make more weekly contacts looking for work and to show photo ID to keep receiving jobless benefits.

Another provision would validate appeals decisions made over a two-year period by the state unemployment insurance agency when the board was vacant.