By Travis Fain, WRAL statehouse reporter
The UNC System continues to wage $15,000 a period to a politically connected consulting steadfast that was portion of the modulation squad during the system's 2019-2020 statesmanlike search.
Jim Blaine and Ray Martin, who antecedently worked successful Sen. Phil Berger's office, are “strategic advisors providing argumentation proposal and adjunct connected assemblage matters and moving connected peculiar projects," according to their declaration with the strategy office.
They're the past vestige of a squad of advisers the strategy had connected declaration past twelvemonth arsenic the Board of Governors worked to regenerate outgoing interim President Bill Roper. The News & Observer reported astatine the time that this cadre of advisers had outgo $1 cardinal arsenic of February 2020.
New President Peter Hans was hired successful June of past year. Martin & Blaine's latest contract, released done the state's unfastened records act, was effectual July 1 of this year. It runs for a twelvemonth astatine $15,000 a month, positive expenses, and the declaration says it tin beryllium extended up to a maximum of 10 years.
UNC System spokesperson Josh Ellis described it arsenic "the lone UNC System enactment advisor declaration presently successful place."
Details connected what the consultants bash day-to-day aren't laid retired successful the contract, and Blaine declined remark Friday. The declaration says they won't bash lobbying oregon ineligible work. Ellis provided a connection from Board of Governors Chairman Randy Ramsey, who said Blaine was hired nether Roper and "has continued arsenic an advisor to the UNC Board of Governors and has been a valued plus to committee leadership.”
The steadfast Martin & Blaine, who besides telephone themselves "The Differentiators," person had a scope of concern and governmental clients, including Congressman Dan Bishop and committees that raised wealth past twelvemonth to elite General Assembly Republicans. Blaine is Berger's erstwhile main of staff, and Martin erstwhile eaded the Senate Republican caucus.
Hans' elder unit is simply a politically connected one. No less than 3 members are former chiefs of staff to General Assembly leaders. That includes Blaine's replacement astatine 1 constituent successful Berger's office, Andrew Tripp. A afloat roster of strategy bureau salaries wasn't instantly disposable from the strategy Friday afternoon.
Hans besides is advised by the assemblage that hired him, the 24-member Board of Governors, which is made up mostly of concern people, existent and erstwhile lobbyists and erstwhile elected officials.