Commentary

While NC shivers, slips and slides, state DOT Secretary Tata plugs his novel

Tony Tata 2One would have to think that some state officials are having second thoughts this morning about laying off 500 or so Department of Transportation employees as the state Senate proposed last week. As one look out the window will remind all of us, these are the kinds of days on which it’s hard to have too many dedicated public employees keeping our highways and byways clear and drivers safe.

That said, one must wonder just how engaged state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata is in the discussion of the issue. Last night, as the brunt of the winter storm was blasting North Carolina, the Secretary was right where you’d expect him to be: plugging his latest novel and offering foreign policy advice on Fox News. He (or his publicist — it’s never clear who is on the account at any time) was even tweeting about it last night while DOT road crews were out there risking life and limb for their fellow citizens.

The bottom line: Let’s hope North Carolina’s DOT workers all have a productive and safe day out there today serving their fellow citizens. And if state leaders are really serious about doing away with redundant and/or less productive employees in the giant department, they might do well take a close look at one particular employee who is taking home $136,000 in taxpayer bucks each year even as his attention is frequently focused on matters quite unrelated to his job.

6 Comments


  1. LayintheSmakDown

    February 17, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Actually, he is on the news as we speak with the Governor having a news conference. So see, he can actually perform his duties and spend 15 minutes on Fox News.

  2. John

    February 17, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Today, Tata shows up for work. Last night, um…he didn’t.

  3. Cheryl

    February 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Mr. Tata needs to reevaluate his priorities. His job is as Sec. of Transportation not Fox panelist. He couldn’t even do his job as Superintendent of Wake co. Schools that’s why he was let go. There’s time for self promotion after you lose your job next election.

  4. Shel Anderson

    February 17, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I had an exchange with Senator McKissick on FB re this bill. Here’s his response to my query about the loss of 500 DOT jobs: “When this bill was discussed in committee I specifically asked the Representative from the NC Department of Transportation to address the impact that the anticipated layoff of 500 people would have on the Agency. I discovered that policies have been adopted previously, which would allow many of these individuals to be hired by private sector employers as part of an outsourcing program. I was also advised that the NC Department of Transportation employs over 18000 people and that the 500 employees that could be possibly impacted would be approx. 2% of their workforce many of whom would be employed by the private sector employers who DOT contract with for services.”
    So this looks to me like a budget bait and switch – from DOT employees to DOT contract budget. I suppose there might be savings in lack of benefits?

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    February 18, 2015 at 9:30 am

    John,
    Tata did not need to show up at night, the DOT had their marching orders and I think his skills are beyond driving one of the snow trucks.

  6. Alan

    February 19, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Tata, the “edyoucayshun” expert, the transportation “expert”, the novelist, the astronaut, sound like he’s related to LSD?

    He’s just another right wing extremist taking advantage of the state GOP’s policy of “jobs for the boys”.

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