The member of the NC House suddenly out of a job -- he lost his Republican primary back in May -- is Lex Luthor understudy Justin Burr of Stanley County, who until recently was chair of the House Special Committee on Judicial Redistricting, which means he was trying to redraw judicial districts so that African-American judges would be cut in half and Republicans would have a better shot at winning judgeships. It was a plot worthy of a power-mad supervillain. But alas. A nice old small-town pharmacist knocked Burr out in the May primary.
The state job Justin Burr is angling for? Executive Director of something called the Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council, which as far as we can tell, would be not inconsistent with cheerleading at the campfire and encouraging s'mores for everyone. It's a mighty shallow website the council offers to this inquiring mind, and as it turns out, the Executive Director would be the sole employee of an advisory council that is a shell with no innards.
Travis Fain reports that the position of executive director was created by the General Assembly last year but has so far gone unfilled. Justin Burr noticed after he lost his May primary that there was a juicy state position going unfilled -- salary at the time ... $74,000 -- so Burr applied and was interviewed in June.
Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but immediately after that interview, the proposed salary was boosted to $119,000, and then the Office of State Human Resources got involved and down-graded the proposed salary to a maximum of $88,221, noting that "this position was vacant and, upon review, was determined to be more appropriately classified as a Program Development Coordinator," a classification typically used for positions in "small programs with a small staff and/or limited scope." Small staff? How about zero staff!
Justin Burr's scope has always been larger than small potatoes, so with the help of Rep. David Lewis, who runs the powerful House Rules Committee and who knows a thing or three about manipulating laws to the benefit of Republicans, has slipped it through that the council's members get to set Justin Burr's salary. Wait, what? There's an Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council with members? Overseeing an "agency" with so far no employees? Who's on this council and how did they get there?
According to Travis Fain -- because their website is wholly blank on the matter -- the membership of this council is appointed by "legislative leadership" (that would be Berger/Moore), by the Secretary of Agriculture (Republican Steve Troxler), and by the governor, which suggests a Republican dominated council that's being empowered to set the salary sufficiently high to please Justin Burr.
And now everything is perfectly clear.