OUR VIEW: Senate does right thing

Published 6:05 pm Friday, December 14, 2018

The North Carolina Senate did the right thing Thursday when they removed a provision that would have given former state representative, and possible state employee, Justin Burr, a higher pay rate than state compensation guidelines allow.

Burr, who was recently hired as the executive director of the Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council (OHAC), would have benefitted to the tune of slightly more than $30,000 annually.

The provision sought to allow the board of the OHAC to set its own pay scale for its executive director and would have reportedly boosted to annual pay from $88,221 to $118,913.

It is a moment of common sense and clarity for our state government to suddenly discover that such a laser-focused provision in a bill of wide-ranging proposals could only be seen as something specifically designed to help one of their own.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see this thing smelled fishy.

Fortunately, some wiser heads in the Senate tossed it out after the bill passed the House with the provision included.

This doesn’t address the issue of whether Burr should have even been considered for the job in the first place.

While no one should deny Burr the right to have a good career and support his family, landing a never-before-filled executive director role without having the minimum requirement of a college degree causes pause.

Perhaps Burr will be great in his new role and become a strong advocate for introducing young people throughout the state to the joys of hunting and fishing in the state’s fields and streams.

But the question will remain about how much he was helped by his political friends.

There is even the thought that some in the GOP may have wanted Burr to have the job to provide a financial disincentive to him ever running for political office again.

The party that regularly repeats the mantra of “Drain The Swamp” needs to realize former politicians easily sliding into high-paying government positions does not help the appearance that the level of swamp water is getting any lower in Washington or Raleigh.

But the Senate did throw out a small bucket of swamp water this week and that should be gratefully acknowledged.