Editorial: Hollowed work ethic disappoints

Mar. 05, 2014 @ 10:30 PM

Gov. Pat McCrory still may yet come around with the Department of Health and Human Services.

He doesn’t shake loose easily when he has strong beliefs, even when all others around him see clearly what he does not.

Secretary Aldona Wos’ DHHS office has been his albatross from the start. It had a head start on the Monday marches and can completely be changed by his call and not an elected General Assembly from across the state.

He’s not budging. We called for her ouster in September and stand by it, with a finding from an Associated Press investigation the latest embarrassment in our state government.

Joe Hauck was a consultant hired by the agency through New Breed Logistics, a High Point company, to help with reform efforts to help save North Carolina taxpayers’ money. He earned $310,000 in less than 11 months and was reportedly paid just $1 for the three weeks prior to his Dec. 20 departure.

Inside those numbers, consider he made $41,000 more than the annual salary of the highest paid employee in DHHS, a medical doctor. Working 46 consecutive weeks with no leave or vacation, he’d have averaged 54 hours weekly.

Asked by the AP for public records related to his work, which would have included emails, plans, proposals and documents he authored, DHHS provided memos adding up to three double-spaced pages and spreadsheets of cuts made in state funding.

Hauck’s recommendations? He summarized and recommended the same plan as an agency staff study from 2012. DHHS gave him credit for cuts required by legislators the prior year, $5 million of state support to nonprofit groups. DHHS said he helped expand the agency’s internal audit staff.

And for every dollar DHHS linked to Hauck, about $3 million in savings and $5 million in cuts, no documentation was provided to support the total.

Who is New Breed Logistics? The company where Wos’ husband is CEO, and North Carolinians threw away $310,000 in a conflict of interest.

McCrory was right to campaign against a corrupt culture in Raleigh. Too bad his words were as hollow as the evidence of Hauck’s work.