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DOT head promises ‘good change’ for agency

By Staff
Transformation drive comes to Williamston
By DAN PARSONS
Staff Writer
WILLIAMSTON — On the heels of a stinging audit, a panel of Department of Transportation officials is traveling the state to collect input from its employees on how to make the organization run more smoothly.
At Martin Community College in Williamston on Monday, N.C. Secretary of Transportation Lyndo Tippett met with employees of the District 1 and pledge to “bring about good change” to the department. The “transformation” process Tippett has ordered is in response to a report released in October that showed the department lacked coordination that resulted in poor production and financial waste.
That report encouraged DOT to develop a new mission statement and goals to reorient the department’s future development.
One of the department’s new goals throughout the “transformation” process is to make the state’s transportation network safer both for DOT employees and for motorists.
Field Operations Director John Nance, said a priority would be making transportation projects more efficient and transition from acting immediately on every call received.
Nance said he would like to see the department move from paving dirt roads to do more paved road improvement. That matches DOT’s goal of making the state’s infrastructure last longer and require fewer repairs overall.
Bill Rosser, who works with the Dicision of Highways, said a renewed focus on the department’s mission was the key to a successful transformation.
The DOT mission is “connecting people and places in North Carolina – safely and efficiently, with accountability and environmental sensitivity.”
Mark Foster, with DOT’s Financial Management Division, said the state and the departments are in a “very unusual situation right now.
The panel of DOT officials is on the statewide tour, gathering input from employees from each of the state’s various highway divisions and answering questions about the transformation. Roberto Canales, a 24-year DOT veteran, was appointed by Tippett to head the transformation team.
Canales said it was his intention to complete the transformation effort in a matter of months. Tippett said he expects any changes made to the DOT to be embraced in the future, despite a change in the governorship next year.