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This report offers insights from the results of two surveys of North Carolina’s elected and appointed local government leaders in response to COVID-19. While the spring survey came at a time when unemployment claims surged ahead of positive COVID-19 cases, by the fall, despite positive cases soaring to new records, the economy appeared to have settled significantly due to news about near-term vaccines. Our analysis points out notable contextual changes between the spring and fall. However, much remained the same in the world of North Carolina local governments.
“Overwhelmingly and not surprisingly, given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, three-fourths of respondents indicated they expected a negative impact on the local government due to COVID-19. Nearly all other respondents indicated that it was simply too soon to tell, with almost no respondents indicating no impact or a positive impact.
Just over ten percent of respondents chose to further explain their concerns. These respondents highlighted cancellations of in-person meetings, including public meetings; loss of funds, both for the government itself and the community; and, the adverse impacts for citizens, including food insecurity and unemployment as high concerns about negative impacts of the pandemic.”
“Taken together, these results show that working people are challenged to earn enough to make ends meet. One common way to increase compensation is to increase a worker’s level of education and training, and indeed, among the eight overall categories of needs in our survey, 64 percent of respondents chose “Education and Training” as one of the three most important. It was the most-chosen response, with “Employment Support” the next highest at 46 percent (Figure 3).”
Trial Judges’ Perceptions of North Carolina’s Office of Indigent Defense Services: A Report on Survey Results03/01/16
“Two of the most striking survey results were (1) the 80 of 119 judges who observed an impact on the quality of representation provided by assigned counsel that they attribute to the 2011 reduction in rates paid to such counsel and (2) the 59 of 66 judges who indicated in a follow-up question that the quality of indigent representation had suffered as a result. In their comments, judges raised concerns about experience, availability, and preparation. In other words, they associated the rate reductions with several of the key concerns they had described in response to earlier questions about their satisfaction with IDS administration of indigent defense. This further indicates that decisions related to PAC compensation rates can affect the overall quality of indigent representation.”