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Bill to make more North Carolina government employee information public resurfaces

More information about the work histories of North Carolina state and local government employees would be subject to public disclosure in legislation that’s resurfaced this week in the Senate.

The chamber’s judiciary committee voted Wednesday for the measure, which would provide short explanations about why a worker has been demoted, dismissed, transferred of suspended as of this December. Current law only requires a “general description of the reasons” for a worker’s promotion.

Pamlico County GOP Sen. Norm Sanderson said the bill, backed by the North Carolina Press Association, attempts to keep the public more apprised of the performance of public employers and encourage agencies to weed out poor-performing workers.

In response to concerns from senators and a state employee group, the measure has been adjusted many times to prevent health details and unsubstantiated allegations of supervisors from winding up in the public descriptions. The State Employees Association of North Carolina remains opposed to the bill, saying it would take lots of time and money for a worker to fight proposed descriptions they find untrue or misleading.

The bill also would apply to workers of the University of North Carolina and community college system, sheriff’s deputies and police officers and regional mental health agencies.

The content of the bill, which next goes to another committee, failed to pass the full Senate before a key parliamentary deadline last month. But Sanderson said chamber leaders agreed there would be a way to advance the proposal this year while he addressed more details. The Senate removed content from an unrelated measure that passed the House in April and inserted the personnel language.

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