Under the Dome

McCrory transition costs come in under budget, so far

Pat McCrory's transition costs total less than $200,000 so far, with the bulk covering salaries for his top aides. The figure is detailed in public records obtained by The News & Observer.

The Republican legislature gave him $660,000 for transition costs, double the amount of his Democratic predecessor. McCrory said he would try not to spend it all. Not all costs are accounted for yet, and the total doesn't include any expenses related to the inauguration.

Four key aides made the most money: Thomas Stith, Kelly Nicholson, Charles Duckett and Pattie Fleming, documents show. Stith made $10,894 a month in the transition, a total salary equal to about $131,000 a year. Nicholson took home $13,895 a month, or the equivalent of $166,740 a year. The total projected for transition salaries -- $192,000 --goes through Jan. 18, suggesting the final number may be less because some staffers are moving to state payrolls before then.

More than a dozen staffers were hired at hourly wages, largely to work on policy initiatives, press operations and legislative outreach. Among them, the highest paid is Chris Walker, McCrory's communications director who made $45.47 an hour, or the equivalent of roughly $95,000 a year for the former Romney campaign operative.

Outside of salaries, the team kept expenses to about $4,200 through Dec. 31. The cost includes about $3,500 on hotels and meals for Tony Almeida and Johnathan Rhyne, two transition staffers who live outside Raleigh, records show. Walker said he didn't know what hotel they stayed at in Raleigh.

The spokesman said McCrory tried to keep costs to a minimum. The group spent about $622 on office supplies in the first six weeks of the transition.

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