McCrory appoints Tata, two others to cabinet posts

Posted January 3, 2013
Updated January 4, 2013

— 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. 

Tony Tata with Pat McCrory Tata tasked with developing long-range NC transportation plan

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.


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  • ConservativeVoter Jan 8, 2013

    Tata is the states gain and Wake County's loss.

    Democrats, especially those on the Wake County School board, are such idiiots.

  • tracmister Jan 4, 2013

    Tata is a prime example of the "Peter Principle."

  • North Carolina Home Jan 4, 2013

    "So, you think Gen Tata will discrimminate against Wake County as Sec of Transpo? Is it really a good idea to have someone like that in a position of authority?" Mr.Middle of the Road

    Exactly what did the Army trust you to do?

  • North Carolina Home Jan 4, 2013

    ccsmith1902 said:

    "Disappointing about the Pope appointment. That is clearly getting off on the wrong foot."

    Why do you hate Art Pope? Because he has been successful? Because he is not a liberal?

    He's never been accused of any crime that has created indictment like many "Democrat" officials. He and his family have contributed to numerous charitable organizations that have benefitted North Carolinians.

    Exactly WHY do you hate Art Pope?

  • Nancy Jan 4, 2013

    "Could you back up your dislike of Conti or give an example Nancy? It sounds like you hold a grudge about something or is it just because he was part of Perdue's administration?" - floweasy

    Conti was less "qualified" (the point so many people are trying to place against Tata) than Tata if you go by education and experience.

    The grudge I hold is how poorly DOT has been operated for a long time and the waste of monies as well. Heck, even the local news pointed out their failings over the years.

  • superman Jan 4, 2013

    General Tata wont last 2 years this time either. You cant command people unless you are in the military. You never get cooperation from your staff by being a dictator. Never read a single comment from anyone he directly supervised who said they worked for the school and was sorry to see him leave.

  • ccsmith1902 Jan 4, 2013

    Disappointing about the Pope appointment. That is clearly getting off on the wrong foot.

  • North Carolina Home Jan 4, 2013

    Let the DOT spring cleaning begin!

    "I've also asked him to fix DMV — in a week," McCrory said with a smile.

    Afraid it may take a month, Governor. It's a real mess.

  • reincarnatedasme Jan 4, 2013

    Glad to see McCrory appoint Tata. He did a good job with the Wake School system, but the politically charged misfits fired him to flex their muscle. He will no doubt do an excellent job with the state and I wish him luck.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jan 4, 2013

    The Wake Co School Board fired him.....guess KARMA is coming to pay them a visit!

    So, you think Gen Tata will discrimminate against Wake County as Sec of Transpo? Is it really a good idea to have someone like that in a position of authority?