North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis
Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2012, 12:19 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 17 May 2012, 12:19 PM EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The state House speaker says he was considering the effect on families when he authorized payments equal to a month's salary for two high-level staffers who resigned because of inappropriate relationships with lobbyists.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that the payments totaled more than $19,000 and went to Charles Thomas and Amy Hobbs. Thomas was the chief of staff to Speaker Thom Tillis and Hobbs was his policy adviser.
High-ranking legislative employees are exempt from state personnel laws and generally work "at will" in North Carolina. That means they can be dismissed for no reason and without severance.
Tillis defended the payments Wednesday, saying they take into account families who were affected by the abrupt job losses. He said Hobbs is a single mother.
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