A new report in N.C. Policy Watch indicates that Lee County GOP Chairman Jim Womack, who is also a member of the North Carolina Oil & Gas Commission, is skipping the body’s meetings in protest over not receiving his per diem for board service.

The article mostly highlights the body’s currently dysfunctional state, explaining that it was unable to reach a quorum at a Monday meeting which only two members attended and was therefore unable to take action on a number of issues, including the inspection of two idle gas wells in Lee County.

But near the bottom of the report, it was noted that Womack was not in attendance out of protest:

Then in 2019, Lister drew the short straw and was elected by his fellow commission members to replace Womack, who  is now vice-chair. (Womack has boycotted attending the the last two meetings in person because he claims he’s not been paid his per diem; it’s unclear if he’s filled out the paperwork correctly.)

Draft minutes from November’s meeting of the body appear to back this up.

“The last item is still troubling is I go back to minutes of the May meeting, which were approved at the August meeting, and it said that Mr. Peele from OSHR approved us on the ability to get paid for our travel and transportation, costs, parking fees, and the per-diem that’s allowed. He promised that that was going to be done but it still hasn’t been done,” Womack, who was teleconferencing into that meeting, is reported to have said. “The Chairman probably has been compensated – I still have not. The paperwork that was promised to me has not been provided by email or otherwise and I think DEQ has some house-keeping work to take care of and I’m just stating my intent. I’m not traveling there today because I’m not getting paid to go back-and-forth. I’m going to be by remote telephone participation until such time DEQ does its job by statutory requirement. That’s all I have to say.”

According to the state’s travel policy, the per diem for members of boards and commissions is $15 per meeting as well as other expenses such as mileage.