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McCrory names first three members of staff

Posted December 13, 2012

— Gov.-elect Pat McCrory on Thursday named his chief of staff and two cabinet secretaries as he prepares to take office next month.

Former Durham City Council member Thomas Stith, who heads McCrory's transition team, will serve as chief of staff for the new governor. Dr. Aldona Wos of Greensboro, a former U.S. ambassador to Estonia, will head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Raleigh businessman John Skvarla will oversee the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"I'm looking for talented individuals to join our team who can run government in the most effective way possible," McCrory said at a news conference. "My top priority as governor is to ensure that we have the framework in place to unleash our state's incredible resources to create jobs, grow our economy and ensure that North Carolina exceeds its potential."

Stith, the program director for economic development for the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said he didn't really want to be McCrory's chief of staff but realized while assisting in the transition to the new administration that he needed to play a role.

"North Carolina is a state primed for greatness," he said. "Our state can and will be a leader in this nation."

Noting that his ancestors were slaves on an Edgecombe County plantation, Stith said each generation of his family has tried to build on a dream of economic independence.

"I don't take that legacy lightly and will work to ensure that North Carolina is a place for prosperity for all of our citizens," he said.

McCrory said Wos, a native of Poland and the daughter of a Nazi concentration camp survivor, has seen how health care systems operate in a number of countries and can bring that knowledge to DHHS, which he called the most challenging assignment in his administration. He also noted that, as an outsider, she isn't tied to an agenda as the department undergoes change.

McCrory cabinet McCrory begins filling out cabinet

"Life is so short, and it needs to be meaningful. One really needs to leave an impact," Wos said.

She said she recognizes the challenges DHHS faces in terms of mental health care, Medicaid funding and aspects of the Affordable Care Act, but she prefers to view them as opportunities.

"We need to come together to find the best possible solutions," she said. "We need to bring excellence, availability, accountability and affordability to those that we serve."

McCrory called Skvarla, the chief executive of Restoration Systems LLC, which rebuilds wetlands and other ecosystems for companies and developers, an entrepreneur who understands the environment. That will be important as North Carolina tries to balance economic growth, including a nascent energy industry, with the preservation of the state's resources, he said.

"I have a keen awareness of both environmental and business concerns," Skvarla said, noting that Restoration Systems has cleaned more than 60 miles of streams and rivers, restored 25,000 acres of wetlands and planted 1.2 million trees in the last 15 years. "The environment will be protected."

McCrory will be sworn in to office Jan. 5, and he said he hopes to have all of his cabinet secretaries and other top leaders all in place before lawmakers return to Raleigh on Jan. 9.

All cabinet members will focus on building a culture of customer service in state government, implementing efficiencies, collaborating across agency lines and adhering to high ethical standards, he said.

58 Comments

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  • ljohnson247 Dec 14, 12:17 p.m.

    What are his thoughts about the State Board of Elections?

  • Come On_Seriously Dec 14, 10:06 a.m.

    "Why would anyone put natural gas pumps in a forest? Wouldn't they be along a road where cars that run on natural gas can be driven to them?" fishon

    Ha! Is this a real question? Same reason you don't fish in your front yard where its convenient rather than spend all that time getting in a boat and inconveniently getting to where the fish are. Fracking wells will be put wherever they think the gas is located. They'll then build roads to the wells and 100 to 1 the vehicles that service them do not run on natural gas either.

  • Crumps Br0ther Dec 14, 8:41 a.m.

    No worries, it will all be over in 4 years, let the Repubs enjoy it while it lasts! Demographics are NOT on their side, thank goodness.
    banker27520

    Yah just sit tight someone will turn the freebie hose back on for you.

  • computer trainer Dec 13, 7:20 p.m.

    ashwednesday36- I thought that bevvie was the Education Governor. Goodness knows we heard it out of her mouth, PLENTY!!! Did she not straighten everything out? She still has a TON of money in her campaign coffers. She should have to donate it to education. That woman has ruined the opportunity for any woman to ever be elected Gov again.

  • computer trainer Dec 13, 7:18 p.m.

    OleNCNative - Check out workforpat.com http://www.workforpat.com/share-your-ideas/ He is also on Facebook.

    Mommyoftwo- Looking to see who the new ESC chief is! Time they got somebody who had a clue. $40 million to paint that run down health hazard of a building on Wade? Seriously? So worried about spending all that money, but could care less about the employees or the people of NC. It is time to turn this buggy around.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again01 Dec 13, 6:33 p.m.

    How about a worker's right to NOT be in a union and still work?

  • pbjbeach Dec 13, 5:39 p.m.

    WHO CARES WHO MCCORY APPOINTS TO WHAT POST IN HIS ADMIN I FOR ONE SURELY DO NOT. I AM TRUELY SORRY THAT HE HAS EVEN BEEN ELECTED TO THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR OF OUR GREAT STATE. HE WILL ONLY CONTIUNE TO ALLOW SUCH THING TO OCCUR HERE IN NORTH CAROLINA AS THEY ARE TAKING PLACE IN WISCONSIN AN MICHGAN THAT WILL ONLY FARTHER PEOPLES WORKERS RIGHTS AN MOST ESPECIALLY TRUE OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR WORKER THAT ARE IN FACT HIRE TO RESPRESENT AN PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE TAXPAYERS IN THIS STATE FOR HE AN HIS CROINES SURELY WILL ONLY PROTECT THE RIGHT OF THE COPORATE INSTREST AS DOES ALL REPBULICANS IN THIS NATION AN THIS STATE . I PERSONAL WILL NOT WISH HIM WELL I ONLY WISH HIM TO BE A ONE TERMER FOR SURE HURRY UP AN GET HERE 2016 THANK YOU

  • drjones74 Dec 13, 5:29 p.m.

    Remember haters...all those years of Democratic leadership got NC to #1 in roads, highly ranked in public universities, created an environment where furniture and textile manufacturing thrived, poultry and swine farms thrived, huge bridges connecting the outer banks to the mainland, and facilitation of things like RTP. The Democratic party in NC has maintained what is referred to as a 'business progressive' approach to governing which is a very pragmatic style. I think McCrory will actually be very similar in style, much to the dismay of the ideologs in the legislature.

  • fishon Dec 13, 4:07 p.m.

    Say goodbye to the Dupont Forest, as well as many other places in our state that will soon be littered with natural gas pumps.
    ncnc85

    Why would anyone put natural gas pumps in a forest? Wouldn't they be along a road where cars that run on natural gas can be driven to them?

  • rdc42179 Dec 13, 4:00 p.m.

    ashwednesday, when our schools become success oriented and no longer have fiscal autonomy we will produce a better finished product. ( i,e ) an educated, responsible individual. You are absolutely right, we should them fundamental skills. Those administrators where appointed by the same politicians that are running this country into,the ground.

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