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Executive Branch

Excerpted from the 2001-2002 North Carolina Manual. Updated by: Steven Case, Government & Heritage Library, 2009, 2013; Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.

In a move to greatly reduce the number of agencies that had developed in North Carolina government, the Executive Organization Acts of 1971 and 1973 grouped all of the agencies of the Executive Branch into departments plus the Office of the Governor and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Since that time, agencies have been renamed and reorganized numerous times. Effective January 1, 2012, the Departments of Correction, Crime Control and Public Safety, and Juvenile Justice and Delinquency were merged into one Department of Public Safety.

Ten members of the executive branch are popularly elected. This includes the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, and the State Auditor. The departments of the executive branch that have elected department heads are Agriculture, Insurance, Justice, Labor, and Public Instruction. The remaining department heads are appointed by the governor.

Governor: Roy Cooper

Lieutenant Governor: Mark Robinson

Council of State: Elected officials

Attorney General: Josh Stein

Commissioner of Agriculture: Steven W. Troxler

Commissioner of Insurance: Mike Causey

Secretary of State: Elaine F. Marshall

Secretary of Labor: Josh Dobson

State Auditor: Beth A. Wood

State Treasurer: Dale R. Folwell

Superintendant of Public Instruction: Catherine Truitt

Cabinet: Department Secretaries appointed by the Governor

Administration: Machelle Sanders

Commerce: Tony Copeland

Natural and Cultural Resources: D. Reid Wilson

Environmental Quality: Michael Regan

Health and Human Services: Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH

Information Technology: Thomas Parrish (Acting)

Public Safety: Erik Hooks

Revenue: Ronald Penny

Transportation: Eric Boyette

Military and Veterans Affairs: Walter Gaskin

Other Executive Officials and Departments

State Budget Director: Charles Perusse

Chief of Staff: Kristi Jones

Director of the Office of State Human Resources: Barbara Gibson

President of the NC Community College System: Thomas Stith, III

State Agencies

At the time of the Executive Reorganization Acts, there were over 200 independent agencies in state government. Most of these agencies still exist as subdivisions of the executive departments. The location of some agencies may not be obvious--the Division of Veterans Affairs, for instance, is in the Department of Administration. The State Government Portal provides a comprehensive list of state agencies and subdivisions.

In addition to the executive departments, there are three independent executive agencies as well as over 50 licensing boards that provide regulatory control for specific occupations. With the exception of the Office of Administrative Hearings, most of the board members are appointed by the Governor; however, some boards are made up of members chosen by multiple parties, including the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, both houses of the General Assembly, and even Council of State members.

Office of Administrative Hearings

The Office of Administrative Hearings is a quasi-judicial agency that adjudicates administrative law cases (that is, cases in which a plaintiff challenges the application--or lack of application--of a particular agency rule), as well as publishing the NC Administrative Code. The Chief Administrative Law Judge, who serves as Director of the OAH and chooses other Administrative Law Judges, is appointed by the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court.

Office of the State Controller

The State Controller is the state's Chief Financial Officer, charged with insuring that State appropriations are expended, accounted for, and reported consistently. The State Controller is appointed by the Governor with the approval of the General Assembly.

State Board of Elections

The State Board of Elections administers the election process and deals with all matters of campaign finance disclosure. Members of the Board are chosen by the Governor.

Occupational Licensing Boards

Occupational Licensing Boards grant certificates of qualification for specific occupations, establish rules of ethics and conduct, and ensure that practitioners adhere to state laws and regulations. Many boards include both practitioners and non-practitioners, who are appointed to represent the public interest.


Educator Resources:

Grade 8: NC Executive Branch – Activity & Poster. North Carolina Civic Education Consortium.

Grade 8: NC Executive Branch – Activity & Poster. North Carolina Civic Education Consortium.

Your State Government.

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