UPDATE: McCrory Unveils Transition Team In Raleigh Visit

North Carolina Gov.-elect Pat McCrory has filled his transition team with former elected officials and Charlotte allies to help ramp-up his administration before he takes the oath of office in January.

McCrory unveiled transition staff members Thursday at a news conference in a Raleigh state government building. Former Charlotte City Council member John Lassiter is the senior chairman of transition operations, while Thomas Stith is the transition director. Stith works at a private enterprise center at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The former Charlotte mayor also defended the involvement of Raleigh businessman Art Pope, who will be one of three transition co-chairmen. Pope is a retail company executive who's been a lightning rod for Democrats because his family companies or foundation has given large amounts of money to conservative groups and political committees.

A list of key leaders on North Carolina Gov.-elect Pat McCrory's transition team announced Thursday:

-- John Lassiter, chairman of transition operations oversight. Former Charlotte city council member and Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board member and mayoral candidate.

-- Ed McMahan, co-chairman of transition operations oversight. Chief executive of Charlotte architectural firm and former N.C. House member and Republican National Committee member.

-- Art Pope, co-chairman of transition operations oversight. Chief executive of Variety Wholesalers Inc., head of John William Pope Foundation and former state House member from Raleigh.

-- Mike Smith, co-chairman of transition operations oversight. President of Kane Realty Corp. in Raleigh.

-- Johnathan Rhyne, transition general counsel. Former House minority leader, attorney at Lincolnton law firm.

-- Thomas Stith, transition director. Leader at Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC-Chapel Hill and former Durham City Council member.

-- John Baldwin, deputy transition director. Chief of staff for Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry since 2001, former chief of staff to then-House Speaker Harold Brubaker.

-- Kelly Nicholson, policy director. UNC Health Care System executive, former senior policy adviser to state Senate leader Phil Berger.

-- Tony Almeida, economic development director. Retired Duke Energy Corp. executive.

Other senior advisers or honorary team members include Republican former Govs. Jim Holshouser and Jim Martin; ex-Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner; former U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor; ex-House Speaker Joe Mavretic; McCrory campaign adviser Jack Hawke; Former Ambassador Aldona Wos; and B&C Associates chief executive Robert Brown.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)