North Carolina Council of State
|Formed||November 12, 1776|
|Jurisdiction||Government of North Carolina|
|Headquarters||Raleigh, North Carolina|
The North Carolina Council of State is the collective name for the ten most senior and prestigious executive offices in the Government of North Carolina. They are the popularly elected Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor and Commissioner of Insurance.
The Council of State is separate from the North Carolina Cabinet, which is appointed by the Governor, and makes up the rest of the State's executive leadership. However, members of the Council of State are often colloquially and erroneously called cabinet members. In modern times, the Council of State meets periodically, with the Governor as chair, to allow for coordination and exchange of information across executive branch agencies and to vote on certain decisions, especially regarding the sale of government property or the borrowing of money.
North Carolina retains a unique system of divided executive power. The term "Council of State" harks back to a colonial era provincial council, which was essentially the upper house of the legislature, and then to a Council of State during the American Revolution, which was appointed by the legislature and curtailed the Governor's power. The North Carolina Constitution of 1776 required "that the Senate and House of Commons, jointly, at their first meeting after each annual election, shall by ballot elect seven persons to be a Council of State for one year, who shall advise the Governor in the execution of his office." When a new Constitution was adopted in 1868, the name and some of the powers or duties of the Council were retained, but instead of being appointed by the legislature, the members were now executive officers who were elected statewide, serving ex officio on the Council. At first, only the Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Superintendent of Public Works (an office which only existed briefly and was abolished in 1873) were on the Council of State. The revised state Constitution of 1971, which is currently in effect, provides that the Council of State consists of all the officers established by Article III of the document.
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