Monday, February 23, 2009

NCGOP in the News: Longtime Administrator Holds Purse Strings to N.C.'s Stimulus Money

Longtime administrator holds purse strings to N.C.'s stimulus promise

By James Romoser
Winston-Salem Journal
February 22, 2009

More than $6 billion is about to come gushing into North Carolina -- and with it, about 6 billion bureaucratic headaches.

Dempsey Benton knows how to deal with bureaucratic headaches.

Benton, who was tapped by Gov. Bev Perdue last week to handle the distribution of federal stimulus money in North Carolina, has spent his entire career managing money and supervising government programs.

"I looked at three or four resumes, quite frankly, and I think he brings the best overall skill set," Perdue, a Democrat, said Tuesday as she announced her appointment of Benton to run the newly created Office of Economic Recovery & Investment. ...

Linda Daves, the chairwoman of the N.C. Republican Party, criticized Perdue's appointment of Benton, saying that Perdue is breaking a hiring freeze in state government in order to create a job for a political crony. Benton will make $98,500 a year in what has been described as a temporary position.

Indeed, some observers have questioned the need for a new government office to handle the stimulus money when North Carolina already has a budget office that keeps track of government spending. ...

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