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Charlotte missing in Perdue's cabinet picks so far

Shortly after her victory, Governor-elect Bev Perdue told Charlotte-area leaders she would give them a prominent place in her administration: "I intend to mine some of the talent very quickly from this community, to engage folks not only in the transition, but in service in the important places in the administration starting in 2009," Perdue told media at a Charlotte Chamber of Commerce event in November. But so far, none of Perdue's first six cabinet selections hail directly from the Queen City. That includes her pick to head the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Charlotte-area leaders often complain about a lack of equity in decisions coming out of that department. Perdue chose long-time transportation department official Eugene Conti for the post. But Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson says that does not mean business-as-usual for transportation in North Carolina. "Now those decisions will be based on need and on the analysis of the data that's available," says Pearson. "The decisions will not be based on politics and who knows who sitting on the board, but based on the real needs and the data. So I think Charlotte can take heart in that." As for Charlotte-area representation in Perdue's cabinet, there are still four posts left to fill, including the heads of health and human services and environment and natural resources. Perdue did appoint Charlotte resident Gerald Rudisill as chief deputy secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, but that is not a cabinet position. Pearson says Perdue intends to have all ten cabinet appointments complete before her inauguration this Saturday. And she signaled that an announcement scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday may reveal a stronger Charlotte presence in the Perdue administration.