Under the Dome

Insko: Pay DHHS head more

Verla InskoState Rep. Verla Insko wants the person who runs the state Department of Health and Human Services to make more money.

The Chapel Hill Democrat has introduced a bill that would make the DHHS secretary's salary at least 15 percent higher than the highest paid doctor in the department, Lynn Bonner reports.

As a member of the governor's cabinet, the DHHS secretary's salary is set in the state budget. DHHS head Lanier Cansler makes $120,363 a year.

The job exemplifies one of those situations where the head of an agency has a number of subordinates who earn much more.

Dr. Michael Lancaster, an administrator who works in Raleigh, is the department's higest paid doctor. He makes $268,591 a year.

If Insko's bill passed, the secretary's salary would more than double, to $308,879.

More after the jump.


Insko said the salary the DHHS secretary earns does not match its responsibilities — running an agency with 19,000 employees with a budget of $17 billion.

"It's difficult to find someone who is willing to come serve for a long period of time unless we can be a little more competitive with the private sector," she said.

any school superintendents and heads of local government mental health offices make more than the DHHS secretary, said Insko, who is chairwoman of the House budget subcommittee on health and human services.

"It's outrageous what we expect from people," she said. "Even at twice the salary, they would be true public servants to come and take on that responsibility."

Insko said it was right to introduce the bill, even during a recession where the threat of state employee layoffs is looming.

"I suspect if you ask anyone in the public what they thought this person made, the would guess it's already twice as high as it is now," she said.


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Re: Insko: Pay DHHS head more

I think we should pay him what he's worth - about $1.25

Re: Insko: Pay DHHS head more

How much does the Governor make? No one should make more than the Governor. Second we have Republicans on the Wake County Commission wanting to take a temporary 10% pay cut while the Democrats balk at the idea. Whose priorities are askew. Come on Rep. Insko get your head out of your .............

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