Greensboro, NC - During his first trip to the Triad since becoming our state's Governor, Pat McCrory fired back at critics who question his appointment of Duke Energy officials to state positions.
Gov. McCrory worked for Duke Energy for almost 28 years and has appointed three former colleagues from Duke Energy to high ranking state posts.
Sharon Decker will be the state's Commerce Secretary. Decker worked in marketing and human relations for Duke Energy.
Neal Alexander, appointed to lead the Office of State Personnel, worked for Duke Energy for nearly 44 years in human relations.
Tony Almeida, who will be the Governor's chief adviser on the economy and jobs, was once Gov. McCrory's supervisor when they both worked for Duke Energy.
Criticism of Gov. McCrory's ties with Duke Energy are nothing new, as questions over a potential conflict of interest was something he ran into repeatedly while on the campaign trail.
In an interview with News 2's Patrick Phillippi, Gov. McCrory pointed the finger firmly at those who spent millions trying to defeat him during the campaign, saying, "Some of this criticism you might want to see where it's coming from and who's paying for this criticism. It's coming from the same groups that tried to defeat me in my election."
The most well funded and vocal critic of Gov. McCrory's ties to Duke Energy came during the campaign from the North Carolina Citizens for Progress, a Super PAC funded largely by the Democratic Governor's Association.
The group spent millions of dollars on television ads questioning the relationship Gov. McCrory had with Duke Energy while he was Mayor of Charlotte.
Among the accusations, the organization says Gov. McCrory lobbied for millions of dollars in tax breaks for Duke Energy while he was Mayor.
When pressed on this issue of a payback for Duke Energy with these most recent appointments, Gov. McCrory said, "I don't understand that. I worked for Duke Energy the entire time I was Mayor of Charlotte, for 14 years, and no one ever even assumed that would happen and it never did."
Gov. McCrory went on to defend his appointees and said "This is a team that I've worked with in the past, a team of people who understand economic development, a team of people who understand how to read a budget, a team of people who understand the state, and I'm putting together a talented team which includes some of my former colleagues at Duke Power."
The Governor added, "I don't think they should be eliminated from consideration because we worked together."
Governor McCrory has been visiting cities around the state during his first week as Governor and said fixing our state's IT system is first on his agenda, primarily focusing on a new multi-million dollar system that in the Governor's words, "might not work.'
The Governor said he has called in experts to examine the problem, but says his administration is just now learning the extent of the issues plaguing our states IT system.
Gov. McCrory said, "It's very sad that they approved a system with no backup in case it doesn't work and again, I'm just getting this information within the past week."
WFMY News 2