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And there they go: Perdue staffers begin departure

With Gov. Bev Perdue's term winding down, her staff is beginning to depart. 

Ben Niolet, who went to work for Perdue as her new media director in 2010, is leaving in a couple of weeks. He's got a job as marketing director for Contactology, an email marketing company based in Durham. 

Niolet is a former News & Observer political reporter and Domemeister. 

Update: Perdue communications director Jon Romano says this:

"Ben has been an invaluable member of the Governor's team and a trusted friend. His hard work, terrific sense of humor and innovative ideas to advance the Governor's commitment to education will be missed."

Nesbitt hires former N&Oer

Former News & Observer reporter Leah Friedman is Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt's new communications director.

Friedman, who replaces Jeff Giertz, starts work for the Asheville Democrat on Jan. 3. She'll make $40,000 a year.

"I'm pretty excited," she said.

Friedman worked at the N&O for six years. Her last assignment was as the Triangle Troubleshooter.

Friedman joins a host of former reporters who have jumped to political communications in the last few years.

Working to counter nearly everything Friedman says on Nesbitt's behalf is former N&O writer Ray Martin, Senate leader Phil Berger's press secretary.

Former N&O writer Ben Niolet is working for Gov. Bev Perdue, as is former Charlotte Observer writer Mark Johnson.

Domemeister to move under the dome

What next? Dome asks.

Benjamin Niolet, who has been your Domemeister since 2009, is leaving The News & Observer to become director of new media in the office of Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.

Niolet, (pronounced VI-o-let with an "n"), a New Orleans native with a razor sharp wit, will move Sept. 30 to his new digs under the state capitol dome. Niolet will make $60,000 a year in the job, said Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson.

Justin Guillory, an assistant press secretary who had inherited the new media duties, will move to a job in the Department of Commerce, Pearson said.

Niolet, who has excelled at the N&O for seven years, will join former Domer and Charlotte Observer reporter Mark Johnson in the governor's office. Johnson became deputy communications director for Perdue in June.

We can't help but wonder whether the governor is executing a hostile takeover of Dome.

But we guarantee, governor, no matter how depleted our staffing, we will never publish this press release: "First Gentleman Encourages Families to Eat Dinner Together on Family Day."

Those of us still at Dome look forward to Mr. Niolet's creative use of the Internets. We wish him the best.

UPDATE: Pearson said Guillory's move was not part of a reorganization, but his departure for the Commerce job allowed her to reorganize roles in the office.

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