Joe Hauck was paid $310,000 in less than 11 months as a consultant to state Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos before returning in December to his job as an executive at a private company run by Wos' husband.
In response to public records requests filed in September by The Associated Press seeking all plans, proposals, documents, e-mails and any other work product authored by Hauck, the state agency has handed over a pair of memos totaling little more than three double-spaced pages.
The agency also provided spreadsheets detailing cuts made in state funding to such nonprofit charities as food banks and pre-Kindergarten programs that were reportedly developed at Hauck's direction.
Even if most of Hauck's contributions were verbal in nature, there would still be a paper trail (meeting announcements, minutes from such) providing a skeletal detail of work performed. And the inclusion of Food-Bank-cutting materials could simply be an effort to shift the blame for something (that should be) wildly unpopular. Whatever the case, the numbers don't add up to anything short of misappropriation of government funds.
For days, she had been waiting on a monthly food stamp allotment that should have hit her account on Feb. 7. Every morning since, she called the number on the back of her Electronic Benefit Transfer card to check her balance. Now, with a crippling winter storm bearing down on the Triangle, those calls were getting more frantic.
That same morning, a few miles away, the head of the agency responsible for supervising the state's food stamp program was delivering good news to lawmakers.
As depressing as it might be, take the time to read the whole story. When commenting on politics, we often focus on numbers and statistics and such, but those things represent real people, with very real and often life-threatening situations. At the end of the day, they are why we must continue to fight against the regressive policies of the GOP.
Submitted by Martha Brock on Tue, 02/18/2014 - 8:25pm
Committee on DHHS Mental Health meeting postponed one week until February 25th. While most of the attendees are the usual suspects from providers, local area mental health agencies, and lobbyists, anyone can attend -- it is an open meeting.
Raleigh, N.C. - The Mental Health Crisis Solutions Coalition will holds its second meeting on Tuesday, February 25th at 1 p.m. at The Royal Banquet in Raleigh. The Coalition, which represents a broad spectrum of hospital and law enforcement professionals, mental health care providers, patient advocates, legislators and advocacy groups has been tasked by Governor Pat McCrory to look at and implement evidence-based best practices for crisis care statewide.
What: Mental Health Crisis Solutions Coalition meeting
The firm Alvarez & Marsal is best known for being tapped in 2008 to manage the bankruptcy of financial giant Lehman Brothers at a cost of nearly a half-billion dollars. Critics of the financial bailout said that bill was too high.
The contract calls for work to be done by eight people with salaries ranging from $242 to $473 per hour and an “intern” earning $84 per hour. One of the consultants, a “director,” is slated for 2,040 hours of work for total earnings over the year of $803,760.
Republicans love to crow about how government should be run like a business, but you know what? If any private-sector manager had made as many mistakes as Aldona Wos, who now apparently feels the need to bring in blue-chip consultants to untangle her mess, that manager would have been fired a long time ago. The word "inept" doesn't even cover it. And like dog poop on the carpet, that ineptitude is transferring to both McCrory and the NCGA, who are responsible for her continued employment.
Ten days after a massive spill of coal ash into the Dan River in Rockingham County, state health officials on Wednesday warned people against swimming in the river or eating fish from it.
Health officials warned against "recreational contact" with the river or sediment, including contacting any ash that washed up along the river banks. Because contact with the ash can cause skin irritation, people should wash exposed areas with soap and water, officials said.
Also, people should avoid eating fish or shellfish from the river downstream of the spill, they said.
No shit, Sherlock. In other news, you shouldn't try to lick a frozen pole.
The General Assembly had passed a law in July requiring legislative approval before the department asked the federal government for a significant change in Medicaid policy, known as a waiver.
Two weeks later, the department requested a waiver without informing the General Assembly as required by law, the News & Observer first reported Tuesday.
DHHS said the cost could be $2.8 million to state taxpayers. But Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican, and a chief budget writer, expressed his concern that the department’s $2.8 million estimate could grow to as much as $45 million.
This one might be the straw that broke the Wos' back. Breaking the law is bad enough, but how many DHHS oversight hearings have they had since last Summer? 5? 7? How many times did Wos sit there with a complacent smile on her face without mentioning this? Friday news dump coming up...
Not content with her previous no-bid contract awards to family friends and Republican stalwarts, DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos is upping the ante.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services late Friday announced a $3 million sole source contract for a Washington, D.C.-area consulting firm to fix the problems in the state’s troubled $13 billion Medicaid program.
Data released Friday by the state Department of Health and Human Services show the state needs to resolve 559 more cases to meet its Feb. 10 mandate. That's down about 96 percent from Jan. 23, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture told the state it could lose $88 million in administrative funding for the food stamp program if it didn't make significant progress toward clearing delayed cases.
"I am extremely proud of the work performed by our state and county workers to meet the federal deadlines," DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos said in a press release Friday. "Our top priority continues to be getting these important benefits to eligible North Carolina families in a timely manner."
Her use of the word "continues" is nothing more than a lame attempt to protect herself from the overriding truth of this development: this problem could have been solved at any time during the last six months, but only the potential loss of millions in administrative funding provided the motivation to fix it. All those families struggling to put food on the table? Not important enough. And now this truth is obvious to everybody in the state.
Submitted by Martha Brock on Mon, 02/03/2014 - 12:36am
I was on LinkedIn and a couple of job openings popped up. Interesting in that both are for jobs at NC DHHS and both are for top level executive jobs. First is for Ricky Diaz's job of Director of Communications, so not very surprised at that. The other is for Director of Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Both report to the Secretary Aldona Vos. Guess they are at least doing a job search for jobs like Ricky's now. That is progress, right?
This is a WIN-WIN opportunity!! You will win by gaining first-hand experience with how the Food Nutrition System (FNS) operates and gain valuable experience processing claims.
The BIGGEST winners will be the many people who are waiting to get assistance. By helping them complete their applications, you will expedite them getting the necessary assistance they need to feed their families.
According to State Senator Earline Parmon (D-Dist32) who serves on the oversight committee for NCDHHS, “It is totally inappropriate for the legislative assistants to be asked to volunteer. There is the privacy issue. There is the fact that they have not received training to complete this work. To ask L.A.s to do the work for another department, that has already spent millions on over-time is ridiculous.”
There's also a shortage of OB-GYNs in NC: "Don't miss out on this GREAT opportunity! Get scrubbed and let's go DELIVER SOME BABIES! Everybody's a WINNER, and the first volunteer to get five notches on their baby belt will get to bang Tillis' big-ass gavel on the first day of the short session!"
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