Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton pledged Thursday not to increase political patronage by 150 percent, and urged his Republican opponent, Pat McCrory, to do the same.
Dalton was responding to language tucked into the 2012 budget by the Republican legislature that increases the number of exempt positions from 400 to 1,000. According to Dalton, the legislature put the language in the the budget to help Republicans fill state jobs with political operatives, campaign supporters and donors if McCrory wins the election.
“I've always believed in hiring the best person for the job and keeping people on the job based on merit,” Dalton said in a statement. “The last thing we need to do is fire 600 hardworking state employees and replace them with political cronies.''
“This is the very definition of 'pay to play' and I'll have no part of it,” Dalton said. “Pat McCrory's allies in the legislature think we need more politics in state government, not less. I disagree and I call on Pat McCrory to join me in pledging not to increase political patronage by 150 percent.''
Dalton noted that he had previously opposed spending $330,000 put in the budget for the gubernatorial inauguration. After Dalton made it an issue, McCrory agreed.