ND lawmakers, governor criticize severance for closed agency
Pat Sweeney | Oct 26, 2017 AT 3:42 pm
Gov. Doug Burgum and some lawmakers are criticizing compensation for employees of a tobacco prevention agency that was shut down this year.
The Republican-led Legislature decided the Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy, or BreatheND, duplicated anti-tobacco efforts by the Health Department.
The agency closed June 20 and its nine employees were each given six months of salary and a cash payout equal to the cost of six months of health insurance. The severance package was a much sweeter deal than that given to state employees under a voluntary buyout program this year.
Eric Johnson, a Grand Forks physician who served on BreatheND's executive committee and approved the payouts, defended them. He said they were "well within the limits of the law."
They cost the state about $400,000 total.