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DOT furloughs 22 workers because of federal shutdown

The NC Department of Transportation is immediately furloughing 22 employees because of the federal shut down, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.

There are 65 full-time DOT positions and six-part-time positions that are fully or partially funded by the federal government although 16 of those positions are currently vacant.

"Our people are NCDOT's most valuable resource, and our dedicated team works hard every day across the state to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians,'' DOT Secretary Tony Tata said in a statement. "We hope the federal government will resume operations as quickly as possible so all of our employees can get back to work.''

Army vet named new DMV chief

Kelly J. Thomas, a brigadier general, has been named the new commissioner of Motor Vehicles by DOT Secretary Tony Tata.

Thomas has 32 years of experience in leadership, logistics, and customer service with the U.S. Army. He served most recently as deputy chief of staff for personnel for the U.S. Army Forces Command where he was in charge of providing support and services for soldiers and their families for most conventional combat forces in the contiguous US.

He had previously been assistant commanding general for police development of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.

"Kelly's extensive experience in team building and strong customer focus make him an excellent choice to lead DMV,'' Tata said in a statement. "As we continue our DMV transformation that includes expanding evening and Saturday hours and other enhanced customer-focused reform, Kelly Thomas will continue to fuel DMV's climb to the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness among state service providers.

DMV oversees the issuance of over 2.2 million driver licenses annually, the registration of 8.7 million vehicles across the state, vehicle safety and emissions inspections by more than 6,000 inspections statewide.

Cris Mulder appointed to Wake County school board advisory council

Cris Mulder is back serving the Wake County school system, but this time it’s in a volunteer position.

On Tuesday, the Wake County school board appointed Mulder to serve on the District 7 board advisory council. Mulder was nominated by District 7 school board member Deborah Prickett to serve on a body that gives her advice and reviews issues for her.

Mulder had been the school system’s chief of family and community engagement, aka head of communications, until February. She left to become deputy secretary of communications for the state Department of Transportation.

Morning Memo: All eyes on the House, NAACP fires back at McCrory

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The budget and tax watch continues. House and Senate lawmakers are negotiating on both issues this week hoping to break the logjam. Some movement may emerge later this week. In House committees, lawmakers will discuss a power shift at the Charlotte airport, a sweeping bill to weaken environmental protections and consider four election-related bills. With the election bills, it’s not so much what’s in them now -- but how they may get amended. Talk is rampant about an highly-controversial omnibus elections bill. The chambers convene at 2 p.m. The abortion bill is in limbo but not likely to come to a House vote Wednesday -- though stranger things have happened. After a one-day delay, the Senate will debate a bill to impose drug testing and background checks on some welfare recipients.

NAACP PRESIDENT CALLS McCRORY REMARKS 'DISINGENUOUS': Gov. Pat McCrory's take on "Moral Mondays" didn't sit well with Rev. William Barber, the N.C. NAACP president who is leading the weekly demonstrations. In a statement, Barber said McCrory is trying to "play nice and move away from his original comments about Moral Monday protestors being outsiders." He compared McCrory's words to George Wallace, who dismissed segregation as a few isolated instances.

***Read more reaction below -- and get the latest North Carolina political news and analysis -- in today's Dome Morning Memo.***

Morning Memo: Stormy end to contentious week

It should be a quiet day with no legislative committee meetings and no floor sessions.

TGIF and welcome to Dome's Morning Memo for a look back at a contentious week and preview of what's ahead.

EVERYBODY JUST NEEDS TO CHILL: The storms that came through Raleigh late afternoon seemed a fitting end to a obstreperous week on Jones Street that was punctuated with arrests and ended with Sen. Bob Rucho, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, trying to resign his post because Senate President Phil Berger didn't take his side in the great tax debate. His resignation letter questioned the backbone of Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Tillis. Berger sent his own letter, refusing the resignation. Dome suggests they all go out on a man date, watch a game, grab a beer, do that punch-the-shoulder thing guys do and then get back to taking care of the people's business.

Tata names more top DOT officials

Sherman Lupton, a 30-year Navy veteran, has been named State Part Authority and Global Transpark Director of Logistics. He starts Monday and will be responsible for synchronizing and coordinating activities of the ports and the Transpark. Lupton most recently served as deputy director in the in the Office of Naval Operations Staff. He will make $140,000 per year.

Shelley Blake will be the new agency general counsel. Blake has been in private practice and is an adjunct professor at N.C. Central University School of Law. She starts May 28 and at a salary of $118,000.

Morning Memo: Voter ID week starts, Foxx gets FBI vetting

VOTER ID WEEK BEGINS: A highly partisan voter ID measure that could cost more than $3.7 million gets heard in an appropriations committee Tuesday but the outcome is set. The House plans to reserve Wednesday and Thursday for floor debate. The State Board of Elections suggested as many as 318,000 registered voters may not have driver's licenses.

FOXX CLOSE TO BECOMING OBAMA APPOINTEE?  The FBI has been backgrounding Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, who’s reportedly a candidate to be U.S. Secretary of Transportation, sources say. The FBI typically backgrounds potential candidates for federal appointments, Jim Morrill reports from Charlotte. Foxx, who has said he won’t run for a third term this year, has been mentioned for the transportation post now held by Ray LaHood.

***Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more North Carolina political news and analysis below.***

Blogger Alex Jones: Hooray for Tata. Time to shift road building to where traffic exists

"Will tolerating crazy pay off? In one arena, anyway, let’s hope it does. Transportation secretary Tata’s new plan is a much-needed corrective to the rural favoritism that has left downtown Raleigh’s roads like gravel and sparsely populated areas’ like giant cities’ without the wear and tear."

"Raleigh was ten residents away from being the fastest-growing city in America last decade, and Charlotte came in fourth,'' writes Alex Jones, on the blog www.politicsnc.com.

Morning Memo: Goodwin promises access for campaign cash

GOODWIN ADVERTISES ACCESS FOR CAMPAIGN CASH: Democratic Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is soliciting campaign donors to join his "Commissioner's Club," promising private dinners to high-level contributors and emailed "personal updates" on his agency's work. "Be ahead of your friends and colleagues with exclusive updates -- join the Commissioner's Club TODAY," a campaign email states. (Click below for more.)

TODAY IN POLITICS:The Council of State meets this morning at 9 a.m. to handle a number of property matters. Gov. Pat McCrory's office said he won't take questions, as is customary, after the meeting. House and Senate committees are full of action now that the deadline for the majority of bills has passed and the machinations begin. (See more below). The Legislative Black Caucus will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. to criticize "tea party Republicans" who want to change election laws. McCrory will meet privately with Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer later this morning.

***Welcome to the Dome Morning Memo. Read more on Goodwin's latest fundraising effort, get all the N.C. political headlines and more below. Send tips and news to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Morning Memo: McCrory closes Latino outreach office

North Carolina’s Latino advocates are voicing alarm following the governor’s decision to eliminate the state’s office for Latino affairs. The closing of the Office of Hispanic/Latino affairs was sudden and caught many by surprise. The move appears to have exacerbated the already tense relationship between Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the Latino community, including criticism over a driver’s license plan for young immigrants.

Advocates says it sends a message that McCrory and Raleigh conservatives are less concerned with the needs of the Latino community. Paradoxically, it comes at a time when issues of deep concerns, like immigration, are at the political forefront and Republicans nationally are trying to appear more welcoming to Latinos.

***Thanks for reading the Good Friday edition of the Dome Morning Memo. Send tips and news to dome@newsobserver.com. More on the Latino office and other big headlines below.***

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