Gov. Roy Cooper announces agency heads, caretaker choices

Chosen leaders naturally contrast with immediate predecessors as new governor shifts focus, interim secretaries fill remaining voids

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

RALEIGH — At a press conference Tuesday Gov. Roy Cooper announced his picks to lead the N.C. Department of Transportation, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, and those who will serve as caretakers for each agency in the interim.

Leading the N.C. DOT will be James Trogdon. The retired DOT chief operating officer is currently serving as national transportation director for SAS and is a major general in the Army National Guard.

Michael Regan has been selected to lead the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. Regan formerly worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before joining the advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund.

Before Regan and Trogdon officially take responsibility for their respective departments, caretaker supervisors have been named in the interim.

Former Secretary for the N.C Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bill Ross, who served in the role under Gov. Mike Easley from 2001-2009, will oversee N.C. DEQ before Regan’s assumption of power.N.C. DOT chief engineer Mike Holder will serve as caretaker at that agency awaiting Trogdon’s arrival.

Another alumnus of the Easley administration, Dempsey Benton, who led the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services under the Democratic governor, was named interim secretary of that department.

A fixture and previous secretary of the N.C. Department of Administration, Britt Cobb was chosen to be interim secretary of said agency. George Sherrill, currently a program manager at the N.C Department of Commerce, was named interim secretary there.

The current Deputy Secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources, Kevin Cherry, will serve as interim secretary for that department.Interim secretaries for the N.C. Department of revenue and N.C. Department of Public Safety, will be Ron Penny and Linda Hayes, respectively.