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DHHS staffers told they're going to be 'at will' employees

Dr. Aldona Wos, state Health and Human Services secretary, sent email to some agency staff yesterday telling them they're going to become "at will" employees, meaning they will no longer protected under the state Personnel Act.

The Republican legislature gave GOP Gov. Pat McCrory about 1,500 more patronage positions than Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, had.

It is not known how many at DHHS received the email and what positions they hold. The News & Observer has asked for the information.

"We are working to fulfill your public records request," said DHHS spokesman Ricky Diaz.

Update: McCrory's office sent a letter to the state Human Resources office in June with a list of 389 DHHS positions he exempted from the state Personnel Act.

Here is the Wos email.

Dear DHHS Leader,

For nearly eight months, I have met and worked alongside the professionals at DHHS who are passionate about providing vital health and human services to the citizens of our state. As a leader within our Department, your dedication is a critical part of our agency’s success moving forward.

As you may already know, the General Assembly has approved a number of new exempt positions within DHHS. Your position is one that will be designated as exempt. In the coming days, you will have a one-on-one discussion with your supervisor and HR about this change. However, I want to communicate directly with you regarding what this change means and why it is necessary.

As Secretary, it is my duty and responsibility to the state to build and maintain a team of the very best, brightest and most committed people who work diligently to protect the health and safety of the people of North Carolina. And it is also my duty to hold leaders with significant responsibilities accountable for results.

This change will help the Department fulfill our overall mission by strengthening leadership through increasing accountability. This new designation also recognizes the significant impact that you can have on the state in your role. As a part of this leadership team, we will be able to leverage your creativity, passion and expertise for the benefit of the Department and the people we serve every day.

Our leaders in DHHS are critical to the Department’s mission. I am honored to be working with you and I am confident that you will be proud to serve DHHS going forward with these changes.

Sincerely,

Secretary Wos


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