DHHS leader Wos still can't say if positions were ever posted - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

DHHS leader Wos still can't say if positions were ever posted

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

For the first time in months, Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos spoke to reporters after getting a bipartisan grilling Tuesday from lawmakers worried about personnel decisions and other issues at her embattled state agency.  

Wos stood by her decision to hire two 24-year-old former McCrory campaign aides to senior-level positions making salaries of $85,000 or more. 

In the hearing, Republican Sen. Tommy Tucker told Wos he couldn't defend the high pay to his constituents, noting his daughter-in-law earns only about a third as much as a public school teacher working with low-income students. 

Sitting next to Wos at the hearing was her young chief policy adviser Matthew McKillip. McKillip is paid $87,500 a year after receiving a promotion and a $22,500 raise after only three months on the job.           

Also in the room was DHHS Communications Director Ricky Diaz, who got a $23,000 raise in April to boost his state salary to $85,000.           

Gov. Pat McCrory defended the high salaries for McKillip and Diaz in an August interview with WNCN, saying the two were the most qualified applicants and that they beat out "a lot of older people" for the jobs. However, it has since been reported the positions were never publicly advertised to outside candidates.

Tuesday, Wos again defended her young hires. When asked multiple times by reporters whether she had considered any other candidates before hiring McKillip and Diaz, Wos was unable to answer.  

WNCN asked,"How can you say they are the best hire if you didn't look at other candidates?"

Wos replied, "I didn't say I didn't. That was your comment." 

But DHHS has failed to produce documentation the two positions were ever posted.  

On Wednesday, Diaz eventually pulled Wos away from reporters.  

Earlier in the exchange with reporters, which took place after the hearing, Wos said of the hires, "I can tell you anyone who has worked with these two young men absolutely will concur with the fact that they were the best hires for the positions." 

Wos was also asked about transparency at DHHS. The communications staff has not always responded to requests for information, and Wos has not made herself available for an interview in months.  

She said, "Yes sir, I think we have answered whatever you have asked us. I think today was a pretty good example of that," referring to the hearing.  

WNCN also asked Wos if recent hires, many with limited healthcare backgrounds, but who are GOP donors or insiders, are qualified for the posts.  

"The needs in the department are so broad -- talent that is not necessarily related to health itself [is often needed]," she said in part. 

"Health is a product," she continued. "We need an ability to produce that -- sometimes that's where we are weak in our organizational structure."

The Associated Press contributed to this article

Jonathan Carlson

Jonathan is an investigative reporter and anchor with over a decade of experience. Jonathan has broken stories that have resulted in local and statewide change. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

  • Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:26:58 GMT
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."

  • Official: Israel Cabinet to discuss cease-fire

    Official: Israel Cabinet to discuss cease-fire

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:01 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:01:54 GMT
    An Israeli defense official says the Security Cabinet is meeting to discuss international cease-fire efforts, but also the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza.
    An Israeli defense official says the Security Cabinet is meeting to discuss international cease-fire efforts, but also the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza.
  • US weighs refugee status for youth from Honduras

    US weighs refugee status for youth from Honduras

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:58 AM EDT2014-07-25 07:58:08 GMT
    The Obama administration is considering giving refugee status to young people from Honduras as part of a plan to slow the influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. border.
    The Obama administration is weighing giving refugee status to young people from Honduras as part of a plan to slow the influx of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, White House officials said Thursday.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 06:56:56 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, the third major international aviation disaster in a week.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.