Executive Branch

Ten members of the executive branch are popularly elected. This includes the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, and the State Auditor. The departments of the executive branch that have elected department heads are Agriculture, Insurance, Justice, Labor, and Public Instruction. The remaining department heads are appointed by the governor.

State Agencies

At the time of the Executive Reorganization Acts, there were over 200 independent agencies in state government. Most of these agencies still exist as subdivisions of the executive departments. The location of some agencies may not be obvious – the Division of Veterans Affairs, for instance, is in the Department of Administration. The State Government Portal provides a comprehensive list of state agencies and subdivisions.

In addition to the executive departments, there are three independent executive agencies as well as over 50 licensing boards that provide regulatory control for specific occupations. With the exception of the Office of Administrative Hearings, most of the board members are appointed by the Governor; however, some boards are made up of members chosen by multiple parties, including the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, both houses of the General Assembly, and even Council of State members.

Office of Administrative Hearings

The Office of Administrative Hearings is a quasi-judicial agency that adjudicates administrative law cases (that is, cases in which a plaintiff challenges the application – or lack of application – of a particular agency rule), as well as publishes the NC Administrative Code. The Chief Administrative Law Judge, who serves as Director of the OAH and chooses other Administrative Law Judges, is appointed by the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court.

Office of the State Controller

The State Controller is the state's Chief Financial Officer, charged with insuring that State appropriations are expended, accounted for, and reported consistently. The State Controller is appointed by the Governor with the approval of the General Assembly.

State Board of Elections

The State Board of Elections administers the election process and deals with all matters of campaign finance disclosure. Members of the Board are chosen by the Governor.

Occupational Licensing Boards

Occupational Licensing Boards grant certificates of qualification for specific occupations, establish rules of ethics and conduct, and ensure that practitioners adhere to state laws and regulations. Many boards include both practitioners and non-practitioners, who are appointed to represent the public interest.