North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell has called for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to replace the chief operating officer and the chief financial officer.
In Oct. 2019, Folwell called for Gov. Roy Cooper to replace the secretary of NDDOT, and in February 2020, Cooper did.
Folwell is calling for Secretary of NCDOT Eric Boyette to replace two of his top officers for much the same reason – fiscal mismanagement.
Folwell is also calling for the financial management of NCDOT to be transferred to the Office of State Budget and Management.
A press release from the state treasurer’s office states, “Since 2019, NCDOT overspent by at least $2 billion and eviscerated the Highway Trust Fund by over $1 billion. This overspending resulted in the NCDOT going to the North Carolina General Assembly and getting a bailout costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Another issue is the raises that NCDOT gave to its employees over the past two years, which were expected to average 8.2 percent and instead averaged 26.6 percent, which was more than 11 times the average for other state employees.
Those salary increases will, according to Folwell, result in a $176 million unfunded liability for the Teachers and State Employees Retirement System (TSERS) because retirement benefits are based on a percentage of the employees final compensation. The contributions to TSERS by school systems, state agencies, universities and community colleges will have to be increased by more than $23 million each year from 2022 through 2032.
Folwell said, “The continued mismanagement of this agency is a potential threat to North Carolina’s coveted ‘AAA’ bond rating. For over two years the DOT has been writing checks it couldn’t cash, harming taxpayers, road users and vendors. Getting it right and keeping it right are requirements for issuing more debt on behalf of the DOT. The treasurer’s office stands ready and I hope that Secretary Boyette will take this agency in a new and fiscally responsible direction. Citizens deserve a stable and solvent DOT.”