Former Wake superintendent named NCDOT secretary

Governor-Elect Pat McCrory names Tony Tata to head the NCDOT.
January 3, 2013 3:25:35 PM PST
Governor-elect Pat McCrory announced Thursday he's picked former Wake County Schools superintendent Tony Tata to head the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

McCrory's pick for transportation secretary comes just months after the Wake County School Board showed Tata the door.

Tata was hired by a Republican majority on the school board in late 2010. But a new Democrat majority on the board questioned Tata's leadership style - citing problems with a new bus transportation plan, implementation of a new student assignment policy, and said Tata did not encourage an atmosphere that allowed others to submit ideas for improvement.

Board Chairman Kevin Hill said the decision to fire Tata was not political, but Republicans called the decision partisan, and a waste of taxpayer's money.

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The 53-year-old attended West Point and Harvard and retired as a Brigadier General after spending 28 years in the Army and commanding paratroopers at Fort Bragg.

McCrory's choice of Tata at DOT was not his first appointment to raise eyebrows. He previously chose Art Pope -  a North Carolina businessman who finances conservative causes - as his assistant budget director.

Also getting the nod Thursday was Sharon Decker to be McCrory's commerce secretary and Bill Daughtridge to be secretary of administration.

McCrory said he's asked his cabinet to figure out what's working in state government and embrace it.

"We're not here to clear things out. We're here to see where the talent is, keep the talent, and reorganize where reorganization needs to be held," said McCrory.

McCrory and his cabinet will be officially sworn in on Saturday. The ceremonial inauguration will take place on Saturday, Jan. 12 in Raleigh.

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