Raleigh, N.C. — Gov.-elect Pat McCrory appointed former Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata as his secretary of transportation, completing his eight-member cabinet Thursday.
Along with Tata, McCrory named former state Rep. Bill Daughtridge as his secretary of administration and Sharon Decker, who is currently the chief executive of The Tapestry Group, a faith-based nonprofit organization, as secretary of commerce. Decker previously held other corporate positions, including as a vice president for Duke Energy Corp., where McCrory worked for more than two decades.
The trio announced Thursday complete McCrory's cabinet after two rounds of similar announcements in December, during which he named other key players like Budget Director Art Pope and Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos.
McCrory said he would swear in his cabinet Saturday after he takes the oath of office himself.
Of the three people announced today, Tata may be the best known in the Triangle. He led the Wake County Public School System during a tumultuous effort to redraw the system's student assignment plan. The Board of Education, control of which shifted last year from Republicans to Democrats, fired him in September.
Toward the end of his tenure, Tata took responsibility for busing problems that left some children waiting for transportation for hours.
Tata didn't respond to questions Thursday about the school bus problems.
The retired Army brigadier general is now tasked with maintaining and expanding the state's transportation network.
"If he can do it in Afghanistan under fire, surely he can do it here," McCrory quipped after introducing his pick.
McCrory said Tata would be in charge of developing a 25-year plan to maintain and expand North Carolina's transportation system.
"I've also asked him to fix DMV — in a week," McCrory said with a smile.
In a news release, McCrory explained that "Tata has planned and implemented multiple operations involving complex transportation and infrastructure challenges, ranging from multi-mode operations involving ports, airfields, rail and highways to designing and implementing extensive infrastructure plans in developing countries."
Several members of the Wake County Board of Education wished Tata well.
"I think the issues with transportation in Wake County schools was not something Tony was dealing with firsthand. Again, he had delegated that to a staff member," board member Debra Goldman said.
"I think he can do even greater things for the state,” Goldman said. "He recognizes talent; he rewards talent."
Daughtridge is a former three-term lawmaker who served as House Speaker Thom Tillis' chief of staff during the 2011-12 legislative session. He is president of a family oil and gas business, Daughtridge Gas & Oil Co., based in Rocky Mount. He is currently a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.
"Daughtridge also held other statewide and local leadership positions, including president of the North Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association, Rocky Mount Area United Way and Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce," McCrory said in a news release.
Decker did not attend the announcement because she was home sick with the flu.
McCrory said that Decker was Duke Energy's youngest and first female vice president and part of a group of the energy company's employees mentored by former company CEO Bill Lee. McCrory said he, Decker and several others in his administration were reuniting from their Duke Energy days to work in state government.
Decker, he said, would be asked to develop North Carolina's brand and lead efforts to recruit businesses to the state.
"She was the CEO of the Tanner Company, a large textile company based in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. In 2004, Decker created the Tapestry Group, a nonprofit that helps individuals lead healthy lives in body, mind and spirit," McCrory said.