McCrory repeals order on judicial appointments

  • Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 1:01 a.m.

RALEIGH (AP) — The first executive order signed by new North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday repealed an order by his Democratic predecessor creating a state commission to nominate new judges.

In creating the commission in 2011, former Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue said her intent was to remove politics from the appointment process by selecting appeals and superior court judges from candidates nominated by the non-partisan commission.

McCrory, a Republican sworn into office on Saturday, said he too is concerned about the potential for politics to influence judicial appointments, but that Perdue’s order simply didn’t work. The outgoing governor faced criticism from both sides of the aisle last month when she temporarily suspended her own rule to make last-minute judicial appointments as her term expired without waiting for the lengthy nominating process.

McCrory, speaking at his first media conference as governor, said he is reverting to making direct appointments as outlined by the state Constitution.

“With the signing of this order, I intend to appoint people with the highest quality of temperament, education, experience, ability and integrity who will impartially interpret the laws and administer justice,” McCrory said.

The new governor also revealed three more appointments to his leadership team.

McCrory named Tony Almeida as his senior advisor for jobs and the economy. Almeida is the former vice president for economic development at Duke Energy. McCrory, who worked at Duke for 29 years before leaving to run for governor in 2008, said Almeida has the experience needed to help recruit new jobs to the state.

Former N.C. House Rep. Fred Steen II, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year, will serve as McCrory’s legislative liaison. A former mayor of Landis, Steen represented the state’s 76th District since 2004 and served as chair of the House Committee on Public Utilities and vice chair for Commerce and Development.

Chris Estes will serve as the state’s Chief Information Officer after years of working in the IT sector for private companies. MCrory said he considered Estes’ job as among the most important on his staff, expressing concern about the security and effectiveness of the state’s computer and network infrastructure.

McCrory also was scheduled Monday to hold his first cabinet meeting, after which he plans to Asheville to meet with supporters in the first leg of a quick trip around the state. McCrory is set to visit with people in Greensboro and New Bern on Tuesday, before returning home to Charlotte on Wednesday.

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