Gov. Roy Cooper taps Perdue, Easley alumnus for state budget director

Stalwart of previous Democrat administrations elicits fiscal concerns from Republican lawmakers

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
Governor-elect Roy Cooper talks to supporters during a victory rally at N.C. State on Tuesday

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced Monday that he is appointing Charlie Perusse to the position of state budget director.Perusse previously served as budget director for former Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue, as deputy,or acting director under the Democratic administration of Gov. Mike Easley, and as a fiscal analyst for the North Carolina General Assembly. Prior to his appointment, Perusse served as Chief Operating Officer for the University of North Carolina system.”We are putting together a deeply talented team and I am excited that these experienced leaders with proven results will help me move our state forward,” said Cooper of his selections.Republican state lawmakers were quick to criticize the choice as the return of Democratic stalwarts to top positions, from their perspective, represents a return of rash fiscal policies that saddled the state with debts and deficits.”It is alarming that Governor Cooper has appointed Perdue’s old budget director who caused the State’s largest tax-increase,and North Carolina to have billions in federal debt and budget shortfalls,” said Garret Ventry, Communication Director for the N.C. House Majority Leader Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne). “North Carolinians should be concerned that Gov. Cooper is already attempting to bring back the days of high taxes on hardworking North Carolinians and irresponsible spending.”The state budget director will play a key role in developing Cooper’s budget recommendations to the N.C. General Assembly in coming weeks. The 2017 legislative session is a biennial budget planning session, in which the next two fiscal years of general spending priorities will be debated and enacted.Those recommendations are ultimately suggestions to those who hold the constitutional purse strings in the General Assembly. With already stiff opposition from the legislature’s Republican super-majorities, implementing Cooper’s spending priorities will be an uphill climb.Cooper has also sourced leading roles from the N.C. Department of Justice team he led for years as Attorney General. Notably, William McKinney will serve as Cooper’s chief legal counsel. McKinney previously served as Special Counsel to Cooper in the N.C. Attorney General’s office.Barbara Gibson, a long serving veteran in state personnel management, will lead the Office of State Human Resources. Gibson has led the N.C. Department of Justice Human Resources Department for the last 16 years.Noelle Talley will spearhead communications and press relations, after serving as Public Information Officer for the N.C. Department of Justice.The legislature returns January 11 to focus on budget and redistricting considerations.