RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s public safety chief received a $23,000 salary increase in April in part based on the secretary’s growing workload. The raise frustrated some concerned about correctional officer pay and the Cabinet agency.

WRAL-TV reported Tuesday that Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks now earns over $179,000.

State human resources spokeswoman Jill Lucas says Hooks’ increase reflects his “24/7” responsibilities, including work to improve prison safety and build out a new disaster recovery office. The station says the increase was reviewed by human resources and approved by Cooper’s office.

State Sen. Bob Steinburg leads a Senate prison safety panel. Steinburg says he was “flabbergasted” by the increase and called the timing inappropriate given a legislative proposal to move the adult prison division out of the department.

Erik Hooks (Photo: NCDPS)

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