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New ITD director could be someone who’s never worked in transportation

Idaho’s next state transportation director could be someone from an entirely different field who’s never worked in transportation. The Idaho Transportation Board, which already has winnowed a field of 126 applicants down to a short list of a dozen, advertised for someone with leadership skills, business acumen, political skills and “a minimum of five years of senior executive level management experience.” But it didn’t say anything about highways or bridges.

“We just decided that it was probably time to broaden our horizon and see where it would lead us,” said Jim Coleman, ITD board member from North Idaho. “Some of the finalists that we have interested had not had any transportation department experience.” The board’s search for a new director comes after it fired former Director Pam Lowe in July amid complaints about her political skills in dealing with the Legislature, as the governor’s bid to increase the state’s transportation investment failed two years running. Lowe, who is contesting her firing, is a professional engineer, like all but two Idaho transportation directors since 1974.

Idaho state law says, “The board shall appoint a director having knowledge and experience in transportation matters.” But Coleman said, “That’s a pretty broad definition … that could go all the way down to driven on a highway, taken a bus, been in an airport, flown on an airplane. … It could mean that (in) the business setting that they had to deal with transportation issues … whether it’s licensing, making sure the products get to market, coordinating the transportation system within the corporation. I mean, transportation is a part of every business and every governmental agency.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com, and click here to read the job posting for the new director.

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About this blog

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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