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Allocation of State Employees’ Incentive Bonus Savings

June 5, 2001

T. Brooks Skinner, Jr. General Counsel

N. C. Department of Administration 116 West Jones Street Raleigh, North Carolina 27602

Re: Advisory Opinion: Allocation of State Employees’ Incentive Bonus Savings;

N.C.G.S. § 143-345.22(3).

Dear Mr. Skinner:

We are writing in reply to your recent request for our opinion regarding the allocation of State Employees’ Incentive Bonus savings to the general fund versus various special funds.

Article 36A of Chapter 143 provides for a program in which State employees may be rewarded monetarily for suggestions which result in savings to the State. N.C.G.S. § 143-345.22 mandates the allocation of incentive bonus funds. Under this statute, a percentage of the resulting savings goes to the employee(s) who submitted the suggestion; a percentage goes to the current employees in the work unit; and the remainder goes to the General Fund. (Emphasis added.)

Some of the programs which benefit from such savings are funded through the General Fund and others through Special Funds. The question presented is where to allocate the savings realized in those programs funded through Special Funds. These legislatively created Special Funds vary greatly with regard to the specificity provided in describing the administration of those funds. For example, some of the statutes creating Special Funds address what source of funds should be deposited into the Special Fund, including unexpended appropriations, (See, N.C.G.S. § 143250–Wildlife Resources Fund; N.C.G.S. § 117-3.1–Regulatory fee [Rural Electrification Authority];

§ 62-302–Regulatory fee [Public Utilities-Fees and Charges]). Many, however, do not contain any direction with regard to what sources are included in the fund, much less what is to be done with surplus funds. See, N.C.G.S. § 90-171.27–Expenses payable from fees collected by Board [Nursing Practice Act]; N.C.G.S. § 58-86-20–State Treasurer to be custodian of fund . . . [North Carolina Fireman’s and Rescue Squad Worker’s Pension Fund]; N.C.G.S. 111-52–Profits from Highway Vending Fund.
Brooks Skinner, Jr. June 5, 2001 Page Two

Under well-established principles of statutory construction, a specific statute controls over a general statute if the two cannot otherwise be reconciled. Clark v. Visiting Health Professionals, Inc. et al., 136 N.C. App. 505, 524 S.E.2d 605 (2000). In the situation at hand, the allocation of the savings which results from sources funded under the Special Funds statutes should be distributed in accordance with the specific statutory provisions creating the particular Special Fund. In those allocations where the Special Fund is silent as to proceeds of this type, N.C.G.S. § 143-345.22 is controlling, and the savings must be distributed to the General Fund in accordance with this statute.

We trust that we have answered your concerns, but if we may be of further assistance, please let us know.

With kindest regards, we remain

Very truly yours,

Ann Reed Senior Deputy Attorney General

John R. Corne Special Deputy Attorney General