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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Richard H. Moore, August 2, 2002. Interview K-0598. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Describing duties as Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety

Moore describes his job as the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety in North Carolina during the late 1990s. Working under Governor Jim Hunt, Moore's position was unique in that during times of crisis, such as Hurricane Floyd in 1999, he was in charge of both state and federal measures to provide aid and relief to North Carolina citizens. According to Moore, this arrangement between state and federal government ensured that things ran smoothly during emergencies.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Richard H. Moore, August 2, 2002. Interview K-0598. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

I'm so glad you told me that, but to start at the beginning if you could describe your position at the time that Floyd hit and what that meant in terms of emergency response.
RICHARD MOORE:
Okay. At the time that Floyd hit us I was Governor Hunt's Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety. What that meant was both for that storm and, unfortunately many, many storms in the preceding three and a half years of the four years that I was in that position, I was the chief emergency management official for the State of North Carolina, and in all presidential declarations I was delegated the authority by the governor to work whatever mechanisms in state government in conjunction with the federal government. That involved a lot of detail on a lot of programs. The other part of my position as far as legally and statutorily, North Carolina has a wonderful provision that when the governor of North Carolina declares an emergency, separate from the Presidentߞnow in most of these the governor declared an emergency and then the President declared emergency very, very quickly thereafterߞpart of that declaration embodies putting all the resources of the state government under whoever the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety is at that time. So in essence it's a unique mechanism in state government. For that period of time, all the other cabinet officials, all branches of government, everything, are at the disposal of one person, of course, acting in the auspices of the governor. It's been a wonderful set up. It's served the state very well.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Now is that unique to North Carolina, or is this pretty much common in other states?
RICHARD MOORE:
You know, that's a good question. I don't know. I know for a federal declaration you always have a counterpart, a chief state person, who is delegated along with a senior person within FEMA, but I don't know. I don't know. I would hope that other states have it because the last thing that you ever want when your people are in trouble are bureaucratical squabbles. I think North Carolina as a government and as a people got very high marks through most of these disasters. I don't think any of our missteps or mishaps were ever because a chain of command, or two different people say, "No. I'm not going to listen to you. I work for the Department of Transportation. Somebody else has got to tell me that." We never had an instance like that, so it's worked very well for our people.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay, that's great. So what you're telling me is that because of this provision during an emergency you were the number one guy below Governor Hunt?
RICHARD MOORE:
That's right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay.
RICHARD MOORE:
And the person charged with twenty-four hour a day responsibility even in a crisis situation and for a period of time thereafter. The governor's still got other responsibilities, but at this particular point whoever is in that chair, this is their sole duty and we had many instances over my four years where it truly was twenty-four hours a day for day after day, after day, after day, after day.