A former state representative and businessman from Rocky Mount has been selected as interim chief of staff during the transition period for the N.C. House Republicans by top GOP leadership.
Republican Bill Daughtridge was tapped earlier this month by state GOP frontrunners N.C. Rep. Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg — who is slated to become the new House speaker — and N.C. Rep. Skip Stam, R-Wake — the next majority leader — to lead the organization of the House in late January. Daughtridge — who served three terms in the N.C. House representing District 25 — said he was approached by Tillis and Stam about the opportunity due to his exposure to the state legislature and broad experience in government.
“I think this is a historic opportunity,” Daughtridge said. “We have to do things that’s never been done before to balance this budget. But there’s opportunities to make sure our state stays competitive and recruit and create homegrown businesses.”
“There’s a lot of high-energy people we’re hiring that are helping with the process,” Daughtridge said.
Daughtridge also made a bid for N.C. State Treasurer in 2008, but lost to Democrat Janet Cowell.
Daughtridge will be responsible for crafting an organizational chart and hiring all of the paid employees on Tillis’ staff — which is around 11 positions.
Such positions include a general counsel, a new chief of staff, policy advisers, communication experts, research assistants and coordinators for membership and constituent services.
Daughtridge said he now is eyeing ways to trim the amount of current staff positions from 13 to 11 — not because they are not qualified, but to indicate that Republicans are serious about being fiscally responsible.
“We’re trying to lead by example; to point out that we can cut back just like we’re asking everyone else to,” Daughtridge said. “With a $3.7 billion budget gap, we’re going to ask people to make cuts. ... So we’re going to show that we can make cuts in overall payroll, and get the job done better than before.”
In less than a week, Daughtridge said he should be finished with fully completing the organizational chart. Over the next two weeks, Daughtridge said he will be working swiftly to draft office and committee assignments, appoint committee chairpersons and organize the House seating chart.
Promptness is important, Daughtridge said, adding that the new leadership should not waste any time trying to do last-minute organizing.
“As before, what would happen is that it would take a month to get everything together. I want to do all this work ahead of time so that when we get there we’ll be ready to run the very first day,” Daughtridge said. “We don’t want to spend the taxpayers money for us just sitting around. We’re going to be organized way before we get there.”
Daughtridge said once his job as interim chief of staff is complete, he will more than likely serve an advisory role to Tillis for the next two years. Monitoring all suggested cuts and purging nonuseful programs are key routes to crafting a healthy budget in 2011-12, Daughtridge said.
“We have to be careful in dealing with this crisis; preserving education is a must because that’s the foundation of our work force,” Daughtridge said. “This is a recession that’s not going away. We believe we can create jobs by having a good business climate that has low tax rates and reduced regulation.”