A recent personnel shuffle at NCDOT caught my attention. According to media reports, Deputy DOT secretary for transit Paul Morris was “removed” by newly-appointed DOT secretary Tony Tata. Many Charlotte area conservatives had been predicting that McCrory, a big fan of light rail, would keep or elevate Morris, also a big fan of light rail, within the department. Could this mean that light rail is fading as a priority for state government? Stay tuned.
Let’s move over to the state parole board. McCrory replaced former state senator Tony Rand as chairman of the board, but is allowing him to remain on the board. Board members serve at the pleasure of the governor.
The new chairman is Paul Butler, the former executive director of North Carolina’s Southeast. Butler has close ties to R.C. Soles and other southeastern North Carolina Democrats. Several of my spies had reported seeing Butler dining — and meeting — with McCrory in Charlotte during the campaign. So, his receiving an appointment is probably not all that shocking.
What is interesting is the continued employment of Tony Rand — one of the most hardcore partisan Democrats ever to walk the halls of state government. (Maybe there are legal issues we are not aware of.)