Gov. Beverly Perdue's new communications and policy adviser says he wanted to come home.
Greensboro native and Appalachian State grad Pearse Edwards said he has enjoyed working for Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire -- both governors are Democrats -- but he wanted to move back to North Carolina.
“I'm not a big fan of winters in the northwest,” Edwards said Thursday.
He expects to play a role similar to what he has done for Gregoire, helping integrate the communications, policy and government relations functions of the governor's office.
“Policy is complex,” he said. “There’s a real need for the people to get a better understanding of what government is doing.”
Perdue already has a communications director, David Kochman; a senior adviser for government relations, Andy Willis, and a policy director, Al Delia. Their salaries are $115,200, $153,000 and $160,000 respectively.
Edwards, who will be paid $136,000, will not supervise those staffers. They will still report to Chief of Staff Zach Ambrose.
More after the jump.
Edwards' hiring has caused grumbling in some corners of the capital just days after Perdue signed a budget that raised $1 billion in taxes, cut spending and eliminated hundreds of state jobs.
Tim Crowley, Perdue's deputy communications director, said Perdue's office budget was cut by 8 percent along with other agencies this year, but there was still money for Edwards' salary.
“We are carefully managing our budget within these cuts,” Crowley said.
Edwards previously worked for Microsoft, then-Washington Gov. Gary Locke and a Washington, D.C., public relations firm. He starts on Sept. 14 and is gearing up for a cross-country drive when he and his family head east.