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Phone call from Senator Pro Tem's Office (North Carolina)

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USPAP Compliant

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Jan 15, 2002
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Certified Residential Appraiser
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North Carolina
I got a call late this afternoon from Sen. Marc Basnight's office.

I had written a letter of complaint to him concerning the the way appointments to boards and commisions are made and in particular recent appointments which were vetoed by NC Gov. Easley due to numerous problems with some of the appointments and appointees.

Sen. Basnight is charged with making the PUBLIC MEMBER appointment to the NCAB. He had made a NEW appointment for a newly created seat (which was vetoed) and has appointed and re-appointed the only (and current) member of the NCAB........now in his 11th year. This NCAB member (Henry Faircloth) does not meet the statutory requirements for appointment. However, this small detail has not been a problem for the last 11 years. We shall see if he is reappointed yet again, in violation of Th NC Appraisers Act.

Anyway...the jist of the call was to respond to my letter of complaint and let me know that they will be more careful in reviewing all board and commission appointments in the future.

I realize I was being patronized to some degree and that my complaint and opinions are of little concern. At any rate if they spend ANY more time reviewing appointments it will be a great thing.

At least he responded. I have had ZERO response from the Speaker of the House, Rep. Jim Black who is responsible for many board and commision appointments including some to the NCAB.

If more folks would sit down and take the time to make reasonable complaints...it would make a difference. Our politicians only respond when they hear from us.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

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Jan 15, 2002
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Certified Residential Appraiser
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Texas
Did you ask him to call back and schedule an appointment to talk? :)
 

USPAP Compliant

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
No. I think I have pretty well said all I have to say. I have written several long letters about my concerns. Perhaps somone other people have done the same ....or will do the same.

The entire appointments bill (all appointees...not just the appraisal board) was vetoed and will have to be rewritten and submitted when our state legislature reconvenes in on January 29, 2003. It was quite a mess with some dead folks receiving appointments as well as some people who were not qualified for one reason or another. It was the first veto ever by our Governor and was widely reported by the press.

I just hope that many of or state legislators will hear from some voters who expect a little more care and concern when appointments are made.

Below is one of the original newspaper stories about this issue.


Posted on Mon, Nov. 11, 2002

Irregular selections prompted Easley veto
Last-minute appointments flawed
MARK JOHNSON
Raleigh Bureau

RALEIGH - The N.C. Auctioneer Licensing Board lightly reprimanded Lumberton auctioneer Mickey Meekins last May and fined him $250, but Meekins didn't show up for the hearing.

Democrats in the N.C. Senate this fall appointed Meekins to the same board that punished him.

In the same piece of legislation, Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight appointed Stephanie Simpson, a lobbyist for the state Realtors association, to the N.C. Appraisal Board. State law, though, prohibits the Senate leader from appointing anyone involved in real estate.

The obscure bill containing those appointments and about 100 others not only drew a veto from Gov. Mike Easley last week, the first time an N.C. governor exercised that power, but it illustrates the backroom deals that still dominate the General Assembly and the frenetic pace with which some legislation is written.

Basnight and House Speaker Jim Black, both Democrats, created 31 new board and commission positions. The jobs are unpaid, but appointees get a daily stipend for meetings and travel expenses. The stipend ranges from about $100 to about $200.

In his veto message, Easley criticized the increase in state costs during a budget crisis, calling it a "troublesome trend of expanding government in a time when we need to make every effort to be more efficient and lean."

A spokeswoman for Basnight emphasized that about half the appointments are paid for through fees from the industries they regulate and not tax dollars. Bigger also does not mean less efficient, said Amy Fulk, Basnight's communications director.

"Senator Basnight doesn't see a problem with increasing North Carolinians' role in their government," Fulk said.

Board and commission appointments, though, provide Basnight and Black with power and perks. They can use the appointments to reward Democratic supporters and to shape state regulatory policy. Meekins, the auctioneer, had long since settled the dispute between a buyer and seller that led to his fine, but he also contributed to the campaign of Sen. David Weinstein, D-Robeson.

The appointments apparently had little to do with whether the boards themselves thought they needed to grow.

"No one here had any advance notice," said Terry Wright, deputy director of the N.C. Private Protective Services Board, which would have gained two new members under the vetoed bill. The board regulates private security firms.

Wright and others found out when the board's lawyer saw the appointments bill on the General Assembly Web site.

"That was a bit of a surprise," said Mel Black, executive director of the appraisal board, which grew by two seats, one appointed by Black and the other by Basnight, under the bill.

Easley's veto message pointed out that two appointees are dead and five others are prohibited from serving because of statutory requirements. The bill also "mistakenly makes six appointments that are required to be made by the Governor," Easley wrote.

The two deaths occurred after the bill was passed into law, but legislators attribute some of the other bobbles to the process of hurriedly assembling the appointments bill in the waning hours of the legislative session.

Basnight, for example, appointed Lanny Wilson of New Hanover County to the newly created state Turnpike Authority. Wilson, however, already serves on the state transportation board and real estate commission. He is prohibited by law from serving on more than two boards.

Black's appointments to the state appraisal board included David Hoyle Jr. Hoyle, who said he did not seek the position , resigned the appointment shortly after it was made.

Easley and legislative leaders have not yet settled on how to fix the flawed bill, though it could involve Easley's calling a special session of the legislature that would start this week.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mark Johnson:(704) 358-5941; [email protected]
 
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