Gov. Pat McCrory is defending giving the Department of Health and Human Services budget director a $30,000 raise just weeks after ordering all state agencies to reduce their spending.
McCrory ordered the reduction in spending on March 8 because the state had spent $262 million over its budget for Medicaid.
DHHS Budget Director Jim Slate was given a $30,000 raise just five weeks after the McCrory order. Slate's annual salary now totals $144,000, according to McCrory.
Tuesday, McCrory said, "We need to pay people to who are qualified. It's tough to pay for talent." McCrory went on to say there are not many qualified people who can do the job that Slate does. "The private sector is stealing them away at very higher salaries that what we're paying at this point," McCrory said.
The Medicaid program in North Carolina now covers about 1.5 million people.