Editorial: Black eyes are winning at the DHHS

Jan. 07, 2014 @ 11:00 PM

Nearly four months ago, we warned North Carolina couldn’t endure more egregious and reckless actions from its Department of Health and Human Services.

Specifically, we called for Aldona Wos’ resignation. And we called for Gov. Pat McCrory to force it.

She didn’t, he hasn’t, and the privacy of more than 48,000 children in North Carolina are the latest victims of her department. Sadly, we wait for the next embarrassment.

McCrory backed her again on Monday, blaming past Democratic administrations, computer programs inherited by his administration and contracts in place when he took office.

We’re told human error is the reason for this mistake. In most others, we call it poor judgment.

But the bottom line is responsibility for this department from North Carolinians lies with McCrory. He is in charge of who runs it, for better or worse.

And the list of worst is piling high. McCrory says 10 years of operational neglect can’t be fixed in a year. Fiddle faddle.

McCrory needs only to review his party’s actions of the past legislative session to see how quickly years of operation can get changed.

Being a good campaign donor or fundraiser, or taking a $1 annual salary, doesn’t equate to the ability to run an $18.3 billion state agency. Regardless of accuracy, perception is that Wos has the job because of her donations to Republicans.

She and McCrory can’t change that. They can, through performance, show ability. So far, the black eyes are winning.

Unpaid health care providers and North Carolinians without their food stamps are both at the feet of Wos’ department.

And that’s after paying a mysterious lump sum for potential claims to a departing chief of staff; questionable hires of unqualified directors and advisors; the hire of a director against the very kind of “institutional” program she was to lead; and questionable ethics in contracting with a firm led by Wos’ husband.

We repeat from September, our confidence in Wos is irrevocably broken. McCrory’s integrity is crumbling with her mistakes.

Wos and her department can’t do the day to day operations if they are always fixing their mistakes. North Carolinians deserve better, not more black eyes.