What stands as perhaps the most brazen element of the lame-duck North Carolina legislature’s last-minute effort to weaken the office of the governor before Democrat Roy Cooper is sworn in involves what we traditionally think of as patronage positions.
This really is something to behold.
Back in 2013, this same legislature dramatically increased the number of what are technically called “exempt positions” under the governor, giving newly elected Republican Gov. Pat McCrory significant new patronage power. The number of political appointees authorized for McCrory exploded from about 500 to 1,500.
Now a new bill introduced in the surprise special session, called yesterday with about two hours notice, cuts the number of political appointees for Cooper from 1,500 down to 300, even fewer than McCrory originally started with.
Let that sink in. And it’s not just political appointees being taken away from Cooper. The lame-duck GOP legislature scheming with the defeated lame-duck GOP governor to handcuff the new Democratic governor on everything from the courts to the elections boards to higher education.
It’s a power grab of epic proportions.