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4The Daily Tar Heel Thursday, March 30, 1989
o c wages
By JEFF LUTTRELL
In an attempt to raise the ethical
standards of state elected officials, a
bill will be introduced in the N.C.
House next week to allow the wages
of state officials to be garnished to
pay debts. V ' '
The bill, introduced by Rep.
Robert Brawley, R-Iredell, would
allow the courts to take a portion of
any elected official's salary to pay any
unpaid debts the official might have.
Private citizens can have their
wages garnished by the courts under
current law, but state officials can
only have them garnished to pay
delinquent taxes and hospital bills,
The bill would allow any unpaid
bills of state officials to be paid if
' the courts ruled them delinquent.
"I don't think state officials should
have any special privileges over any
other citizen," said Rep. Daniel
Lilley, D-Lenoir. "They should have
to pay their debts as well as any other
Elected officials ' should have at
least the same standards as everyone
else, Brawley said. "I felt there was
a strong need for (the bill), and that
is why I introduced it."
Senate majority leader Ted
Kaplan, D-Forsyth, recommended
the bill be introduced and said he felt
officials should have higher standards
than the public. He will introduce a
similar bill to the Senate.
The bill grew out of a discussion
with Brawley about the need for the
legislation, Kaplan said. He said
public officials should ' be held
accountable for their debts.
The bill is one of many that will
help raise the ethical standards of
elected officials, he said. Kaplan
wants to expand the standards to the
judicial branch as well.
"This type of bill has been in the
working for many years, and some
thing has finally been drawn up,"
Some legislators speculated the bill
was in response to Lt. Gov. James
Gardner's financial problems in the
1970s, but Kaplan said the bill was
not aimed at any party and was not
a partisan issue.
"The problem here goes across
party lines," Kaplan said.
"Basically, I don't think that the
public will be affected by the bill,"
he said. "It's an inside issue."
The bill would allow up to 40
percent of the wages of elected
officials to be garnished for business
debts or bad checks. .
"Several years ago, a member of
the legislature from Lincolnton had
written bad checks. The judge ruled
a judgment against him," Kaplan
said. "This bill is in response to
problems like this."
The bill seems to have a great deal
of support in the House, Brawley
Kaplan said he feels optimistic the
bill will pass in the Senate.
State salaries fall below poverty leve
By KAREN DUNN
Assistant State and National Editor
More than 1,000 state employees
are not earning annual salaries of at
least $11,612, the national poverty
level for a family of four.
Rep. Anne Barnes, D-Orange, has
authored a $1.75 million bill to raise
the salaries of 1,300. full-time state
employees whose salaries don't meet
the poverty level.
"I think it's disgraceful for state
employees in full-time positions to
not make salaries above the federal
poverty level," Barnes said Tuesday
in a telephone interview. "They are
valuable employees who provide the
state with valuable functions. The
state should be sensitive to the quality
of life of its workers."
The bill would be funded by
$650,000 from the state's general fund
and $220,000 from the highway fund,
Barnes said. The same amounts
would be taken from the following
year's state budget.
State employee officials are very
supportive of the legislation.
"We are very pleased with the
proposal," said Kay Wijnberg, pres
ident of the State Employees Asso
ciation of North Carolina. "We're
anxious to see (state employees) at
or above the poverty level. We're
working hard to see it adopted."
Many of the state's below-poverty-level
employees work in grounds,
housekeeping or highway mainte
nance, Wijnberg said. Others are food
service employees in hospitals and
institutions for the mentally and
The low wages are not a new
problem, said Tim Pittman, Gov. Jim
Martin's press secretary.
"It's a product of the years of pre
Governor Martin," he said. "Gover
nor Martin acknowledges there is a
problem. He has .asked for investi
gation of these historic inequities that
have been there for years. It's a
complicated process. Every salary
class is getting review by the State
State Personnel Director Richard
Lee said the legislation would be
difficult to regulate.
"I don't know how you would
regulate a pay system for if you're
married or if you're not," Lee said.
"I don't know how it would work."
Unmarried people may not get the
same pay as their family-supporting
co-workers, he said.
"Single people would be up in arms
and say they're being discriminated
against," Lee said. "You won't know
what family responsibilities someone
has unless you get pretty nosy."
According to statistics released
March 12, UNC employs 246 workers
who earn less than poverty-level
wages, said Jack Gunnells, University
Proposed primary move draws slim backio
By CHUCK WILLIAMS
A proposed bill which would make
North Carolina's presidential prim
ary the first in the nation drew little
support in a House subcommittee
The bili was proposed by Rep.
Steve Wood, R-Guilford, who said
he thinks an early primary would give
North Carolina more political and
. The earliest primary is now held
in New Hampshire on the second
Tuesday in March. Iowa holds a
caucus even earlier in the year.
"The bill w ould provide a political
and economic bonanza for North.
Carolina," Wood said. Estimates of
revenue collected during the Iowa
caucuses range from $150 to $250
million because of the media
generated interest in the event.
Wood also proposed making
North Carolina's the first primary in
the South if his original proposal was
rejected by the subcommittee. He said
holding the first primary in the South
would still accomplish 85 percent of
the purpose of the bill.
In the 1988 presidential election,
North Carolina held its primary on
Super Tuesday along with most
other Southern states in an
unsuccessful move to bring the South
more leverage in presidential politics.
Opponents of the bill believe New
Hampshire would be angered and
could respond by moving their
primary even further back. Others
believe the action could cause North
Carolina to lose some of .its political
respectability. man of the Judiciary Subcommittee
Competing with New Hampshire on Election Laws and Constitutional
for the benefits of holding the first Amendments which is considering the
primary could hurt North Carolina's proposal.
tourism industry and reputation, said Jones said putting the bill aside for
Rep. Beverly Perdue, D-Craven. now was not an effort to kill the
Perdue said something as important proposal. Discussion will be taken up
again in a few weeks, and the
subcommittee will vote after further
discussion, he said.
as a presidential primary shouldn t
enter into competition for tourism
between the two states.
to yp recruitment
By GLENN O'NEAL
In response to a statewide
nursing shortage, the Legislative
Study Commission on Nursing
has introduced a series of bills to
aid in the recruitment and reten
tion of nurses.
The state is about 12 percent
below in the number of nurses it
needs, said Cindy Barker, a lob
byist for the North Carolina
"There are many hospitals that
have had to close wings because
there are not enough nurses," she
said. Barker said many nurses
have had to work extra shifts due
to the shortage.
There are 50 nursing positions
at North Carolina Memorial
Hospital filled by traveling nurses
who are fully trained and quali
fied, said Jon Ross, spokesman for
"We are recruiting now to fill
those vacancies," he said. "There
is a measurable increase in the
number of nursing applicants
from last year to this year."
The starting salary for a nurse
is about $24,000, Barker said. The
main complaint with nurses' salar
ies occurs after seven years when
a nurse has reached his or her
maximum earning capability.
The N.C. Nurses Association
formed the N.C. Council on the
Nursing Shortage two years ago,
Barker said. The council's recom
mendations on combating the
nursing shortage went to state
legislators working on the issue.
One of the bills introduced to
the state Senate would establish
a Nursing Scholars Program
similar to the Teaching Fellows
Program, said Sen. Marvin Ward,
D-Forsyth, co-chairman of the
Legislative Study Commission on
The program will provide 100
$5,000-scholarships for four-year
nursing students, 300 $3,000
scholarships for students in two
year programs, 25 $3,000-;
scholarships for juniors andJ
seniors already in baccalaureate
nursing programs and 52 $2,500
scholarships for nurses who wish
to get their bachelor's degrees in
nursing, he said.
The other bills introduced in the
Senate would provide positive
exposure to the nursing profes
sion, Ward said.
The legislature was faced with,
the nursing shortage last Aprif
when the Government Operations
Committee noted a serious prob
lem at North Carolina Memorial
Hospital, said Rep. Martin Nes
bitt, D-Buncombe, the other co-J
chairman of the Legislative Study
Commission. As a short-ternv,
solution, the legislature allotted
$3,500,000 of the state's budget
during the last summer session to
increase nurses' salaries, Nesbitt
A subcommittee from the com-,
mission was organized to come ur
with long-term solutions, he said.
"We knew then that raising
salaries was not going to solve
everything," Nesbitt said.
Ross said attracting qualified
nurses was complicated. "It
involves education and training, it
involves recruiting, and it involves
Ninety-five percent of all nurses
in the state are employed by non
state agencies, Nesbitt said. "There
are as many nurses (in North
Carolina) as school teachers . .t
the difference is we control
teachers' salaries, but we cannot
control the salaries of nurses
because so few of them work fop
the state." -
"We should consider this action
only to serve what the people of North
Carolina want done, not just to be
first in the South or first in the
country," she said.
The bill has been set aside for now
and will be discussed at a later time
after subcommittee members study
the proposal individually, said Rep. By SANDY WALL
Walter Jones, D-Pitt. Jones is chair-
passenger ' train service
may tie IRa
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Fji1 Onrtjos (BsgjDtD scsd CSSscei?
4a20& Cto&3B3Dto (Stags
between Raleigh and Charlotte may
soon become a reality, according to
The Governor's Rail Passenger
Task Force, appointed by Gov. Jim
Martin, has been studying the pos- . 10 p.m., Grabarek said
first train and would continue from options as to how the service would
Raleigh to Rocky Mount, he said. be run, including having Amtrak;
A third train would leave Raleigh Norfolk-Southern or private contrac1
sibility ot establishing passenger
trains within the state, said Bob
Grabarek, a spokesman for the Public
Transportation Division of the N.C.
Department of Transportation
The task force has recently sub
mitted an interim report to Martin,
The report contains preliminary
recommendations for four daily
trains, he said.
The first train would leave Rocky
Mount in the early afternoon and
arrive in Raleigh around 5:30 p.m.
The train would then continue,
stopping in Durham, Burlington,
Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury
and Kannapolis and would arrive in
Charlotte around 9:30 p.m., Gra
The second train would leave
Charlotte at 8:30 a.m. and arrive in
Raleigh around 12:30 p.m. This train
would stop in the same cities as the
tors run it, Grabarek said
lhereJart several options we,
would have to explore," he said. ' ;
Grabarek said Duke University
professor Eric Pas has been con
tr acted by the state to study the
The railroad line between Raleigh possible patronage of this service and
and Charlotte roughly parallels the fare scales to be used.
at 8 a.m., stop at the same cities and
arrive in Charlotte at noon, he said.
The fourth train recommended by
the Task Force would leave Charlotte
at 6 p.m. and arrive in Raleigh at
Pas, an associate professor with
Duke's Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering, said he
had been working with a colleague
from the Duke Business School to
supply figures to the DOT.
His preliminary report could be
ready by the end of this week, Pas
Grabarek said some, preliminary
predictions have indicated the service
would need a subsidy of around; $3
million a year. .'!
"I don't think it's wise to undertake
(the service) with the idea it's going
Grabarek said the passenger service to be self-supportive," he said.
would provide travelers with a choice. Money from the N.C. General
"The trains are really seen as an Assembly would be needed, Gra-
alternative," he said. "They are barek said. He said he wasn't sure
tailored to suit the needs and wishes whether a proposal could be presj-
ot North Carolina. ented to the General Assembly bet ore
The state is exploring several the end of the term.
Interstate 85, and the state currently
owns 75 percent of the railroad line's
stock, Grabarek said.
The line is leased by the Norfolk
Southern Corp., which operates
freight service on it, he said. The
Norfolk-Southern lease will expire in
"We are now waiting for the
governor to comment on the (Task
Force's) interim report," Grabarek
Jeff Merritt, a press assistant to the
governor, said Martin could com
ment as early as this Friday.
li fe u
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