At the end of February, North Carolina Transportation Secretary, Jim Trogdon, will retire, stepping away from the state government. Trogdon’s departure will be the first from the Gov. Roy Cooper’s cabinet in more than three years.
Beginning his career as a highway engineer before becoming chief operating officer, Trogdon worked at the DOT from 1985 to 2013. He additionally served as Director of Strategic Transportation Planning for the legislature and from 2013 to 2017, worked in the private sector. According to Cooper, Trogdon plans to go back to the private sector after leaving the DOT.
The cabinet’s shakeup comes in the wake of the financial challenges that NCDOT has faced over the past several months; it’s reserves drained after natural disasters and legal settlements under a since-repealed state law. The consequences of its financial issues pushed DOT to lay off hundreds of employees and contractors, also putting about 900 road projects on hold at the end of last year.
State Treasurer, Dale Folwell, blamed mismanagement at the DOT for the shortage of cash, calling for Trogdon’s removal as a result. Fowell asserts that his request for the governor to replace Secretary Trogdon was nothing personal, but rather an important change needed considering the financial troubles that the DOT got into.
In November, lawmakers approved moving money around to help DOT pay for the cleanup after natural disasters and to give the agency some financial comfort and stability. In addition to shifting funds, the new legislation also called for further oversight of DOT spending.
As of last week, the DOT has requested an additional $100 million from the Highway Trust Fund in order to help compensate for the shortfall of funds for February.
Taking up the mantle for Trogdon will be Eric Boyette, who currently heads the state Department of Information Technology, while Tracy Doaks will leave her position as deputy chief information officer to fulfill the position of secretary of IT.
Doaks formerly worked for the Duke University Health System and also as chief information officer for the state Department of Revenue.