- Associated Press - Thursday, December 29, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The incoming administration of Gov.-elect Roy Cooper is already giving notice to stalwarts of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration that they’re being replaced and shouldn’t show up for work next week.

Dismissal notices were given Wednesday to a few dozen McCrory political appointees in the governor’s office and state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Quality, Cooper spokeswoman Megan Jacobs said Thursday.

The notices remind the McCrory staffers that they’ve worked at the pleasure of the outgoing Republican governor, and their jobs end once Cooper takes over early Sunday.

“We hope you will continue to serve North Carolina in other ways,” said the letters signed by Kristi Jones, who will be the next governor’s chief of staff.

The dismissals come days before Cooper is inaugurated at a time of high political division and discord, but are otherwise common as one administration succeeds another, said Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College.

“When a new governor, particularly one from a different party, wants to begin shaping his or her administration, those who were with the previous administration are asked to leave,” Bitzer said.

Cooper has warned he may sue over laws passed by the Republican-led General Assembly and signed by McCrory this month that diminished his powers. One law cuts the number of political appointees from the 1,500 aides McCrory had to 425 for Cooper.

“We’ve been working on a crunched timeline since the delay in the results of the election, and so I think we’ve just been moving through these standard processes as quickly as possible,” Jacobs said.

Neither McCrory nor his spokesmen returned emails seeking comment.


Follow Emery P. Dalesio at https://twitter.com/emerydalesio. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/emery-p-dalesio.

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