NC appeals court hears case on McCrory political appointees

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The state Court of Appeals is looking at a North Carolina law that expanded the number of state employees Gov. Pat McCrory could hire and fire at will.

The appeals court on Wednesday hears from lawyers on whether the law undercuts civil-service protections that allows experienced workers to keep their jobs as political winds shift.

A Superior Court judge ruled last year that the law was unconstitutional because it erased the ability of state prison health-care worker Joe Vincoli to challenge being reclassified as a manager. He was later fired.

The General Assembly in 2013 cut appeal rights for reclassified state employees. The law also increased by 50 percent the number of political appointees in executive branch agencies to 1,500.

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