The state legislature lead by Republicans and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper haven’t gotten along too well. In fact, the two sides could never even agree on a budget, but they did agree on House Bill 77 that made major changes to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).
The audit report by State Auditor Beth Wood that blamed the financial problems at NCDOT on massive overspending and lack of budget controls was probably the final straw. According to that report, the NCDOT overspent its budget by $742 million, or 12.5 percent of its $5.94 billion budget.
As a result, State Treasurer Dale Folwell got more oversight of the NCDOT budget, and the makeup of the NCDOT Board of Trustees was significantly altered. The governor had appointed all 19 members of the NCDOT board, but beginning on July 31, the 20 member board will include three members appointed by state Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and three by state House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).
Berger and Moore have each announced two of their three appointments. Needless to say, they are Republicans who not likely have been appointed by Cooper.
Berger appointed former state Sen. Jerry Tillman, who resigned his position at the end of the 2020 Short Session. Tillman from Randolph County served in the state Senate for 17 years and at times represented parts of Guilford County. Tillman chaired the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education.
So although Tillman resigned from the state Senate, he’s not leaving public service.
Berger also appointed Andy Wells from Catawba County, who served one term in the state House and 16 years in the state Senate, resigning his seat on July 27.
Moore’s appointments are Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), who is serving his fifth and final term in the state House and is the co-chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Stephen Rosenburgh, who is president of U.S. Developments, a real estate investment company.
Berger said, “We don’t need a go-along-to-get-along style oversight at the Department of Transportation, which faces severe financial challenges largely of its own making.”