AP NEWS

Appeals court: Cooper had power to fire ex-governor’s worker

November 19, 2019 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court says there was nothing unlawful about Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration firing an agency spokesman who had served under Cooper’s Republican predecessor.

A Court of Appeals panel reversed on Tuesday an administrative law judge’s decision that sided with David Prickett, who had worked at the Office of State Human Resources under Gov. Pat McCrory.

Prickett could be fired at will, but McCrory altered Prickett’s status as his administration ended, giving Prickett job protections like most state workers. Cooper quickly returned the position to exempt status, and Prickett was terminated.

Appeals judges agreed McCrory lacked authority to alter the position, and a now-repealed December 2016 law designed to help McCrory-era workers remain in state government didn’t apply to Prickett’s job.

Prickett still works within state government.