97-77. North Carolina Industrial Commission created; members appointed by Governor; terms of office; chairman.

(a) There is hereby created a commission to be known as the North Carolina Industrial Commission, consisting of six commissioners who shall devote their entire time to the duties of the Commission. The Governor shall appoint the members of the Commission for terms of six years. Three commissioners shall be persons who, on account of their previous vocations, employment or affiliations, can be classed as representatives of employers. Three commissioners shall be persons who, on account of their previous vocations, employment or affiliations, can be classed as representatives of employees. No person may serve more than two terms on the Commission, including any term served prior to the effective date of this section. In calculating the number of terms served, a partial term that is less than three years in length shall not be included.

(a1) Appointments of commissioners are subject to confirmation by the General Assembly by joint resolution. The names of commissioners to be appointed by the Governor shall be submitted by the Governor to the General Assembly for confirmation by the General Assembly on or before March 1 of the year of expiration of the term. If the Governor fails to timely submit nominations, the General Assembly shall appoint to fill the succeeding term upon the joint recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in accordance with G.S. 120-121 not inconsistent with this section.

In case of death, incapacity, resignation, or any other vacancy in the office of any commissioner prior to the expiration of the term of office, a nomination to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term shall be submitted by the Governor within four weeks after the vacancy arises to the General Assembly for confirmation by the General Assembly. If the Governor fails to timely nominate a person to fill the vacancy, the General Assembly shall appoint a person to fill the remainder of the unexpired term upon the joint recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in accordance with G.S. 120-121 not inconsistent with this section. If a vacancy arises or exists pursuant to this subsection when the General Assembly is not in session, and the appointment is deemed urgent by the Governor, the commissioner may be appointed and serve on an interim basis pending confirmation by the General Assembly; provided, however, no person may be appointed to serve on an interim basis pending confirmation by the General Assembly if the person was subject to but not confirmed by the General Assembly within the preceding four years. The limitation on appointment contained in this subsection includes, among other things, unfavorable action on a joint resolution for confirmation, such as the resolution failing on any reading in either chamber of the General Assembly, and failure to ratify a joint resolution for confirmation prior to adjournment of the then current session of the General Assembly. For the purpose of this subsection, the General Assembly is not in session only (i) prior to convening of the Regular Session, (ii) during any adjournment of the Regular Session for more than 10 days, and (iii) after sine die adjournment of the Regular Session.

No person while in office as a commissioner may be nominated or appointed on an interim basis to fill the remainder of an unexpired term, or to a full term that commences prior to the expiration of the term that the commissioner is serving.

(b) One member, to be designated by the Governor, shall act as chairman.

The chairman shall be the chief judicial officer and the chief executive officer of the Industrial Commission; such authority shall be exercised pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 126 of the General Statutes and the rules and policies of the State Human Resources Commission. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Chapter, the chairman shall have such authority as is necessary to direct and oversee the Commission. The chairman may delegate any duties and responsibilities as may be necessary to ensure the proper management of the Industrial Commission. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Chapter, Chapter 143A, and Chapter 143B of the General Statutes, the chairman may hire or fire personnel and transfer personnel within the Industrial Commission.

The Governor may designate one vice-chairman from the remaining commissioners. (1929, c. 120, s. 51; 1931, c. 274, s. 8; 1991, c. 264, s. 1; 1993, c. 399, s. 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 769, s. 28.15(a); 2011-287, ss. 16, 17; 2013-382, s. 9.1(c); 2016-125, 4th Ex. Sess., s. 24(a), (b); 2018-114, s. 23(b); 2019-167, s. 2.)