Those with Rowan roots filling out McCrory’s team Kluttz, Almeida among several who will take part in governor’s transition efforts

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

SALISBURY — Rowan County residents are helping Pat McCrory prepare to take over as governor of North Carolina.
The Republican governor-elect will be sworn in on Jan. 5, when he officially will take over for Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue.
Since he was elected on Nov. 6, a team of 42 leaders and at least 100 other volunteers have been working quickly to get him up to speed.
Among the people McCrory named to that team are Salisbury City Councilwoman Susan Kluttz, former mayor, and Tony Almeida, a retired vice president for Duke Energy Carolinas.
“We have a total of 12 advisory teams working currently to develop recommendations for the governor-elect around the organization of state government and the policy, processes and technology related to state departments,” Almeida said.
Each of those groups will present a report of its findings to McCrory by Dec. 21.
Almeida has several roles as the transition team’s economic development director. He is working with four different advisory groups — jobs and the economy, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Revenue.
In addition, Almeida is working to coordinate McCrory’s involvement in current economic development projects in North Carolina.
He said he also meets with business leaders across the state, listening for their concerns about state government and looking for examples of innovation and best practices.
“The governor-elect is focused on making state government more efficient, more effective, and more customer-focused,” Almeida said. “We view the citizens of North Carolina as our customers.”
He said McCrory called him around the time of the election to ask him to help with his transition to the governor’s office.
“Since I have known him for more than 30 years and was very supportive of his camp, both in 2008 and in 2012, I was very happy to accept his request,” Almeida said.
McCrory and Almeida both began working at Duke Energy — what was then Duke Power — in the late 1970s. Since then, they have worked together at various times during their careers.
Almeida said he was McCrory’s boss during the governor-elect’s last few years at Duke. Now, the roles are reversed.
“Paybacks are tough,” Almeida joked.
He said the advisory teams meet for a half-day session each week. Because Almeida participates in four of them, he commutes to Raleigh on Monday mornings and comes back home to Salisbury on Friday evenings.
“It’s been an energizing experience, but it’s a great deal of work to do in a short period of time,” Almeida said.
He said other Salisburians working on the transition teams include Margaret Kluttz — another former mayor — and Jake Alexander.
Ricky Diaz, a spokesman for McCrory, said the three main goals of the transition process are to survey the operations and structure of state government, review policy within state government and gather a pool of talent for McCrory’s administration.
Basically, he said, the team members are gathering the information that will help McCrory make decisions as governor.
“That’s what’s going to enable us to hit the ground running on day one, and to start the hard work that awaits us in January,” Diaz said.
Diaz said McCrory wants to create the best possible team for his administration, so he is searching throughout the state for the most qualified candidates.
People who want a spot in McCrory’s cabinet can see available positions and submit resumes through
That website also includes a “share your ideas” link. There, members of the public can submit suggestions for the transition team and the incoming administration.
“We are looking for feedback and ideas, and that’s across party lines,” Diaz said. “It’s also from folks within the private sector and within local and state government.”
Susan Kluttz, a Democrat, said she’s pleased that McCrory seems to have put together a bipartisan team that isn’t caught up in politics.
“It’s just a tremendously excellent caliber of people I’m working with,” she said. “I’m impressed with the enthusiasm, interest and real concern they have expressed for the state and making things better — which has always been something that interests me.”
Kluttz is serving as a volunteer co-chair of the Department of Cultural Resources advisory team. She said the issue of funding for the N.C. Transportation Museum, along with a number of other sites, is likely to be studied.
The groups meet at least once a week, either in person or through conference calls, but Kluttz said hers has chosen to meet more often.
“We really want to do the best we can do,” she said, “and we have just a very short amount of time to do that.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.