RALEIGH, N.C. — Young Republicans who helped elect North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory have been rewarded with big salaries in his new administration.
Matthew McKillip was named this week as chief policy adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos. Records show the 24-year-old McKillip received a $22,500 raise in April, bringing his taxpayer-supported salary to $87,500.
Records show 24-year-old DHHS Communications Director Ricky Diaz got a $23,000 raise in April, boosting his state salary to $85,000.
McCrory didn't respond to requests Thursday seeking comment. Wos also did not respond.
While there is certainly nothing new about campaign staffers moving into government jobs once their bosses are elected, the big state paychecks for McCrory's ex-campaign workers appear at odds with his repeated calls for belt-tightening in state government.
McKillip and Diaz are each paid about three times the starting salary for North Carolina public school teachers, who received no raises in the $20.6 billion state budget approved by the GOP-dominated legislature and signed last month by McCrory.
Before joining state government in January, McKillip worked less than a year for McCrory's 2012 campaign and transition team. Before that, he spent 11 months as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, according to his page on the business networking site LinkedIn. He graduated from Georgetown University with an English degree.
Diaz campaigned for McCrory after working for a year in New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office. Diaz is a 2011 graduate of Vanderbilt University with a bachelor's degree in economics, according to his LinkedIn page.
The salaries and raises for McKillip and Diaz were first noted Wednesday in a blog run by the left-leaning North Carolina Justice Center.
An Associated Press review of a database of state government salaries posted online by the Charlotte Observer (http://bit.ly/17Qpj8l ) shows other 20-something former Republican staffers who landed well-paying state jobs following McCrory's inauguration.
Crystal Feldman, a 27-year-old former congressional staffer and ex-spokeswoman for the California GOP, is paid $78,000 a year as the director of public affairs at the N.C. Department of Public Safety.
Ryan Minto, 28, who previously worked for Republicans U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, is paid $72,000 annually as the legislative liaison for the N.C. Department of Revenue.
Heather Lee Dickson, 29, makes $70,000 a year as the executive assistant to first lady Ann McCrory. She worked as a fundraiser for McCrory's 2008 gubernatorial campaign before moving to the finance staff of the N.C. Republican Party.
Ryan Tronovitch, a 28-year-old deputy press secretary in McCrory's office, makes $65,000 a year. He previously worked as a regional press secretary for the Republican National Committee.
Meredith McCullen, 26, who worked as McCrory's scheduler during his gubernatorial campaign, makes $52,000 a year as an administrative assistant to the governor.