In the waning months of Gov. Mike Easley's administration, his former sister-in-law is getting a pay raise and more security in her state job.
Judy Easley, who was married to the governor's brother, went to work for the state Department of Cultural Resources a month after Easley was sworn in for his first term in 2001. She was a top assistant who reported to the head of the agency, and her job was to keep tabs on some 100 boards and commissions associated with the department. She had a particular emphasis on working with the governor's office on who got appointed to those boards.
In March, her job classification was changed, making it more difficult to fire her. Her title is "administrative services manager."
Across state government, certain jobs, often referred to as patronage positions, are considered so intertwined with a governor's agenda that officials are given wide latitude in hiring and firing.
The vast majority of state jobs, though, are governed by a set process for discipline or dismissal. Judy Easley's job was brought under those protections earlier this year.
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