Gov. Butch Otter has appointed Jan Vassar, former longtime city manager of Lewiston, to the Idaho Transportation Board, the first woman ever to serve on the board. However, Otter appointed Vassar only to fill out the remaining term of the late Bruce Sweeney, the Lewiston board member and former state senator who died in August. Sweeney’s term expires at the end of January 2010, which means Vassar, at this point, has been appointed to serve for just seven and a half weeks. Transportation board terms last six years. Otter’s office said in a press release, “The Governor will decide later whether to reappoint Vassar to the Board for a full six-year term.”
Otter praised Vassar, saying, “I’m pleased that Jan is joining us in the work of maintaining and improving our essential state infrastructure. Her experience with handling budgets, managing employees, overseeing construction and being entrusted with the people’s money will be a great asset to the Transportation Board.”
The board is currently being sued by former state Transportation Director Pam Lowe for wrongful termination, in a lawsuit that includes allegations of sex discrimination in her firing. Lowe was the department’s first-ever female director.