Gov. Pat McCrory already found himself under fire last week before he even was sworn into office.
Media organizations criticized his decision to be sworn in Saturday during a private ceremony inside the House chambers in the old Capitol building. Citing space limitations inside the chamber for more than family, friends and staff members, the governor’s transition team limited media attendance to just one pool reporter and a single television camera. The N.C. Press Association noted that was a rather perplexing move for a gubernatorial candidate who ran for office on a campaign to bring more openness and transparency to government.
McCrory explained Friday that he decided to get sworn in a week before the Jan. 12 public inauguration because legislative leaders passed a law convening the newly elected N.C. General Assembly on Wednesday to choose leaders and organize. McCrory said he felt it would be proper to be sworn into office either at the same time or before the new legislature convened.
Also leading up to his private inauguration ceremony, a pair of public advocacy groups asked the new governor to recuse himself from selecting members of the N.C. Utilities Commission, citing his nearly 30 years of work at the Charlotte-based Duke Energy as a potential conflict of interest. Duke Energy took over Progress Energy last summer to form the country’s largest electric company, which provides electricity to the vast majority of state consumers. A McCrory spokeswoman quickly dismissed those concerns.
The installation of a new governor brings with it the opportunity for a fresh start and new direction for state government. Certainly the governor will do and say things worthy of criticism – but perhaps it would have been fitting to wait until he was actually in office before doing so.