by Jim Morrill, The Charlotte Observer, July 10, 2015.
N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said Friday that he sought clearance from state ethics officials before taking on a new job as Cleveland County attorney.
County commissioners hired the Kings Mountain Republican at their meeting this week.
His contract calls for a retainer of $25,000 and $250 an hour for legal work for the county.
“It’s an honor to get to be the county attorney, but it’s not a full-time job,” said Moore, who practices law in Kings Mountain. “They’re a client like my other clients.”
Moore will continue to represent the Cleveland County Water District as well as businesses and individuals. He makes $38,151 a year as speaker.
Moore said he got an advisory opinion from the State Ethics Commission before taking the county job. “If there was ever a conflict, I would recuse myself,” he said.
Jane Pinsky, director of the Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform, said “the only issue is appearance.”
“I’m just counting on Tim Moore to publicly admit where he’s got a conflict and recuse himself if it’s a bill that does something special for the county,” she said. “The issue is that you have to be doubly transparent.”
At least one other lawmaker has served as a county attorney. Republican Sen. Fletcher Hartsell served in that position for Cabarrus County as well as the county school board.