RALEIGH — Both the Raleigh News and Observer and left-leaning NC Policy Watch wrote articles this week questioning the health of the North Carolina State Treasurer, Dale Folwell, who last month was diagnosed as positive for COVID-19.
The recent blog post written by Rob Schofield, the director of the online outlet NC Policy Watch, went further than that of the News and Observer and implied Gov. Roy Cooper should consider replacing the Treasurer, who had recently tested positive for COVID-19.
The News and Observer said Folwell did not answer a text message it is unclear from Schofield’s post how extensive his outreach was to Folwell.
North State Journal did successfully reach sources close to Folwell this week.
Those close to him said on Thursday afternoon that Folwell is “feeling stronger today.” He is still recovering and they are cautiously optimistic for him based on reports of others who have recovered. Also, based on the severity of the symptoms he’s had, the speed of Folwell’s recovery was characterized as “good.”
In his blog post, Schofield cited advice from an unnamed “prominent North Carolina attorney,” which pointed to the section of the state’s constitution dealing with “acting officers” as well as the section on gubernatorial appointments to vacancies.
The sections Schofield referenced are Article III, Section 7, Subsection 5 and General Statue 147(a)(3), respectively.
As the right-leaning Civitas Institute pointed out, Schofield and his unnamed “prominent North Carolina Attorney” either missed or bypassed General Statute 147-75 which says, in part, that “The Treasurer may authorize a deputy to perform any duties pertaining to the office.”
The remainder of statute 147-75 says that “The Treasurer may authorize a deputy to affix the Treasurer’s signature to any check, warrant or any other instrument the Treasurer is required to sign. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the conduct of his or her deputies.”
Ardis Watkins, the State Employees Association of North Carolina legislative affairs director, blasted NC Policy Watch on Twitter, defending Folwell as the “most transparent politician in NC” and calling the blog post “pathetic.”
Watkins also said Schofield ideas “would set dangerous precedent” and the post a “clear attempt to advance a political agenda.”
.@ncpolicywatch this is pathetic
1)NCGS 147-75 allows Deputy Treasurer to do his job.
2)Folwell is most transparent politician in NC We’ll know what we need Until then HIPAA
3)Schofield ideas would set dangerous precedent
4)This is clear attempt to advance a political agenda
— Ardis Watkins (@ArdisWatkins) April 1, 2020
Rep. David Lewis also showed his support for Folwell.
“Dale Folwell is a strong, passionate, public servant. He is also a strong, goal oriented person. ANYTHING besides prayers and well wishes for his quick overcoming of this virus is out of bounds and petty. Adults ascend beyond politics-especially in times of trial,” Lewis tweeted.
This afternoon, the Treasurer’s office released an update on Folwell’s condition. According to the update, Folwell spent five days at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem from March 29 until today. Folwell did not require use of a ventilator and was not otherwise incapacitated.
The release went on to say Folwell led the Treasurer’s office with the assistance of deputies and was engaged as needed in the day-to-day duties of the office. He will continue his recovery from home following the protocols as outlined by the discharge procedure as well as those required by local and state health officials.