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Eye On Boise

Manning: ‘Department is running pretty well’

Idaho Transportation Board Director Darrell Manning declined to say what the board addressed in its closed session on personnel issues this morning, as rumors spread around the state that ITD Director Pam Lowe might be leaving the department. “I don’t want to discuss anything like that at this point,” Manning said. “If we ever made a decision on something that dire, we would certainly announce it.”

Lowe has been under fire from lawmakers this year as they and the governor squabbled over his transportation funding initiative. The Senate transportation chairman and members of House leadership introduced a bill to let the director serve at the pleasure of the governor, rather than the transportation board. “The board was opposed to doing that,” Manning said. “The transportation board is sort of unique, in the extent of the powers granted to the board.” Those powers, from letting contracts to maintaining highways and setting standards, need to go along with responsibility over the department’s operations, he said. Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, who introduced the bill, didn’t hold a hearing on it, saying he was merely sending a message. Manning said, “I think the department itself is running pretty well, a lot of good people that are doing their jobs. I think the fact that we have moved so quickly on the stimulus package when we finally got the approval is a good indication of that.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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