All signs point to Vance Smith becoming the next commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Smith, chairman of the Georgia House Transportation Committee, has been interested in the GDOT job for nearly two years, and it appears he will get his wish. The deadline for applications for the job was Monday at 5 p.m. Word has it that Smith’s top two potential competitors did not apply for the job, making him the last man standing.
Gerald Ross, interim commissioner who has been the chief engineer, decided not to apply for the job. Instead, it is expected that he will be deputy commissioner and be able to resume his job as chief engineer.
The other potential candidate was Dick Anderson, executive director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. He had expressed verbal interest in the job, but apparently he did not turn in an official application.
In an e-mail, Anderson said he talked to the search committee, but he didn’t think the board was in agreement about whether the commissioner should have business or political skills.
“So I elected not to pursue the commissioner’s position, but rather will plan to assist the governor in ensuring that IT3 [Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today] is implemented through the new planning responsibilities in SB200,” Anderson said.
With both Anderson and Ross out of the running, that means there’s a chance the GDOT board could pass a unanimous vote naming Smith as its new commissioner. That kind of unity would be a change from the last vote for commissioner.
In December 2007, the board elected Gena Abraham (now Gena Evans) as the GDOT commissioner in a 7-6 vote. Although she had support from Gov. Sonny Perdue, the GDOT board ended up voting her out in February.