Under the Dome

Deputy secretary retires amid leadership change at McCrory cabinet agency

Gov. Pat McCrory talks with Bill Daughtridge, Secretary for the NC Department of Administration, outside the Administration Building Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. The McCrory administration is working on what it dubs "Project Phoenix," an effort to revitalize the state government complex in Raleigh and elsewhere by adding retail and residential uses.
Gov. Pat McCrory talks with Bill Daughtridge, Secretary for the NC Department of Administration, outside the Administration Building Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. The McCrory administration is working on what it dubs "Project Phoenix," an effort to revitalize the state government complex in Raleigh and elsewhere by adding retail and residential uses. ehyman@newsobserver.com

The same day that Gov. Pat McCrory announced that Secretary of Administration Bill Daughtridge was leaving his post, one of Daughtridge’s top deputies quietly retired.

Daughtridge left the agency to serve as a commissioner on the N.C. Industrial Commission. Kathryn Johnston, who’d been the deputy secretary of service operations, became the acting secretary.

The shake-up was announced Feb. 12. That’s the date that Speros Fleggas – who’d served as a deputy secretary for asset management and was involved in negotiations over the Dorothea Dix property – retired without any public announcement.

Department spokesman Chris Mears confirmed Fleggas’ retirement this week. He said John LaPenta is “taking his place.”

The McCrory administration hired LaPenta last year in a new position leading “Project Phoenix” – the proposed revitalization of state government buildings that’s become a signature initiative for McCrory.

LaPenta had been working under the state budget director. Mears said he’ll continue to lead Project Phoenix, which is now being overseen by the Department of Administration.

Before joining the McCrory administration, LaPenta was a senior vice president with Adolfson and Peterson, a construction company with offices across the country.

Fleggas, who’s worked in various state government positions since the 1970s, was among the state’s negotiators as Raleigh leaders worked out a deal to buy the Dorothea Dix property for a city park. He was also the longtime director of the state construction office before becoming a deputy secretary.

He could not be reached for comment.

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