March 26, 2015

Guest Editorial: Tata’s politics may
cost N.C. transportation dollars

N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata has made a nice living from his status as a retired brigadier general. When Tata retired in 2009 after 28 years in the U.S. Army, his former rank and training at The Broad Academy gave him entry into the Washington, D.C. school district. There, he would use his military acumen to improve the schools logistics as chief of operations under then-schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. That lasted 20 months.

Then, despite little experience in education, Tata was hired as superintendent of Wake County schools, North Carolina’s largest school district, because a conservative-led school board liked his potential for gung-ho, nontraditional leadership. That didn’t end well. Tata gained a reputation for bullying staff members and couldn’t get the buses to run on time. He was dismissed by a new, progressive board after less than two years and left with approximately $250,000 in severance pay.

Soon after, he landed his current post. Upon announcing Tata’s appointment, Gov. Pat McCrory said that despite Tata’s lack of experience with state transportation issues, he had run complex operations as a general. “If he can do it in Afghanistan under fire, surely he can do it in North Carolina,” McCrory said.

However, The News & Observer of Raleigh is now asking in an editorial if it's wise for the Secretary to be bashing President Obama's foreign policy on Fox News.

Read the editorial of March 23, 2015.

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