Local Politics

Perdue names DOT, Commerce chiefs

Posted January 5, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Governor-elect Beverly Perdue on Monday named a former state and federal transportation official, an Asheboro businessman and a Greensboro arts leader to her cabinet.

Gene Conti, who serves as regional manager of PBS&J, an infrastructure planning, engineering and construction management firm, will head the state Department of Transportation. Keith Crisco, president of Asheboro Elastics Corp., will oversee the state Department of Commerce, and Greensboro businesswoman Linda Carlisle will head the Department of Cultural Resources.

Perdue said the three, along with six others named to leadership positions in her administration, would work to create jobs and improve North Carolina's economy.

Perdue names DOT, Commerce chiefs Perdue names more Cabinet secretaries

Conti, who also serves as vice chairman of the Global TransPark's Board of Directors, previously was the DOT's chief deputy secretary and assistant secretary for transportation policy with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The DOT for years has been dogged by perceptions of patronage and inefficiency. An outside consultant issued a scathing report in 2007 that said the agency lacks priorities and accountability, resulting in project delays and low employee morale.

Perdue said Conti would lead a more professional agency where facts outweigh politics.

"You can't have day-to-day decision-making bogged down or influenced by political decisions. It's got to be based analytically," she said.

Conti promised an "open and honest" department, but his appointment isn't devoid of political connections. His wife, Betsy Conti, was Perdue's chief of staff from 2002 to 2005, and he has donated $4,200 to Perdue's campaigns since 2004.

Perdue denied any connection with political support and her cabinet selections.

"I never once looked at a campaign report," she said during a news conference. "That might bother you some, but I didn't. I wanted people who were proven leaders."

Crisco, who is also mayor pro-tem of Asheboro, served as assistant to the U.S. Secretary for Commerce and also as a White House Fellow in the early 1970s. He has headed Asheboro Elastics since 1986 and has expanded the company despite the decline in the state's textile industry.

"We cannot forget our traditional industries," he said. "We've got to (recruit and retain industry) very, very well."

Carlisle has been involved in leadership roles in the nonprofit sector, having served on the University of North Carolina-Greensboro Board of Trustees and in various roles with the United Way and United Arts Council. She supports using the arts as an economic development tool, especially in downtown areas and small towns, Perdue said.

Crisco has contributed $5,500 to Perdue's campaigns since 2004, while Carlisle has donated $10,000 since 2000, according to campaign finance reports.

Perdue has named six of the 10 Cabinet-level appointments. Last week, she named leaders for the departments of correction, juvenile justice and crime control and public safety.

She is expected to round out her cabinet Tuesday afternoon.

Also on Monday, Perdue named six others to leadership positions in her administration:

  • Army Brig. Gen. James Trogdon III will serve as the DOT's chief operating officer. In addition to working as a division engineer at the DOT, he commands the Army's 105th Engineer Group, which has provided mobility and general engineering support in northern Iraq.
  • Terry Gibson will serve as DOT director of highway administration. He has worked for DOT for more than 20 years, including nine as a division engineer, overseeing projects in a five-county area.
  • Anthony Roper will serve as DOT deputy secretary for administration and business development. He has worked for DOT for nearly 20 years.
  • Susan Coward will serve as DOT deputy secretary for intergovernmental affairs and budget coordination. She has held that position since 2003.
  • Moses Carey will chair the state Employment Security Commission. A former Orange County commissioner, he has worked on health education programs at North Carolina Central University and was executive director of Piedmont Health Services Inc.
  • Dale Carroll will serve as the deputy commerce secretary. He has served as president of Advantage West, a regional economic development agency in western North Carolina.

Perdue said she is choosing agency leaders with a solid record of experience who also were willing to shake things up. She has  given her cabinet secretaries 60 days to report back to her with five pressing needs within their departments.

28 Comments

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  • streetfightinman Jan 6, 2009

    4 more years of dishonest crookery, you get what you voted for.

  • computer trainer Jan 6, 2009

    Perdue was not elected. People were too lazy to actually mark a ballot, so they voted straight DEM. Hope that this is going to set well with everyone. We will see what happens.

  • jgriffith3792 Jan 6, 2009

    So, she wants to improve the DOT. And how does she plan on doing this? By naming the folks who have been working there for the last 20 years to positions of leadership.

    I do not know who is a bigger quack: Perdue, or those that elected her to office of this great state of ours.

  • spentrounds-full auto Jan 6, 2009

    Perdue says she never, never, never ever looked at a campaign report to see who donated campaign funds. Is it plausible to say "liar, liar - pants on fire?" Could thir really be true? Here is how it works - contribute a few thousand to a winner's campaign, get a good paying state job then contribute a few thousand to the campaign out of your state salary to keep your job. Check out some campaign reports to see who contributed and got state jobs, and once hired, continued to give money. Especially look at the appointed positions.

  • pbjbeach Jan 5, 2009

    computer trainer

    Come on now an stop an smell the rosses or is it these stinking pols of coarse you knwo that the incomming new chairman of the employment security commission wil be just another pols buddy that gets the appointment

  • pbjbeach Jan 5, 2009

    OUT OF COURISTY WHY DOENT THE GOV TO BE EVER BLOG ON HERE AS TO WHAT IS BE WRITTEN IN THESE BLOGS . OR AT LEAST ALLOW HER SECERATRAY TO REPOND FOR HER PERHAPS SHE IS SCARED TO RESPOND ON HERE AS THAT SHE MIGHT ACTUALLY SAY SOEMTHING IN PRINT THAT SOMEONE COULD POSSIBLY HAVE PROFF OF WHAT EXACTLY SHE HAD SAID

  • computer trainer Jan 5, 2009

    ratherbnnc, you forget that Cultural Resources also sets up travel for the Gov and Staff. Remember those $60 burgers in Europe? They were responsible for those trips.

    Oh and Mr Easily's sis in law works there now. She was an exempt emp, now she is not, and is making 10% more. This was reported last Friday.

    I posted this earlier, but appears that it was not allowed.

  • computer trainer Jan 5, 2009

    Hary Paine was replaced because he no longer wanted the job. According to employees there, he has announced at least two times that he intended to leave. Good move on her part to replace him, he did not want the job, so the door is that-a-way. No one there seems to know the new guy coming in. Hopefully he is more than a POL.

  • Brogden Jan 5, 2009

    Anyone know why Harry Payne was replaced as Chair of the Employment Security Commision?

  • MarcoPolo Jan 5, 2009

    NCcarguy- good point.

    Nobody knows these folks but they sure do know the system and how to milk every ounce of polical gain.

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