ODOT Director Beasley to retire from Strickland cabinet
Jolene Molitoris promoted
Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:30 PM
By Mark Niquette and James Nash
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The director of the Ohio Department of Transportation is retiring and will be replaced by Assistant Director Jolene Molitoris, Gov. Ted Strickland’s office announced today.
James Beasley, whom Strickland named to the post in Feb. 2007, is retiring effective Jan. 30.
He’s the second Strickland cabinet appointee to leave since the governor took office two years ago. The first, former Department of Job and Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelley, left last month under a cloud over misuse of state resources for political purposes.
Beasley, 59, had been the Brown County engineer for nearly 27 years when Strickland named him to the $124,758 state position.
His tenure has been marked by a shift in priorities from building and expanding highways to exploring alternatives such as light rail. That philosophical change has not yet been accompanied by action, as transportation planning is a multi-year process.
Even more than Beasley, Molitoris, 67, is seen as a champion of transportation alternatives.
When Beasley named her as assistant director in March 2008, Molitoris was the chairwoman of the Ohio Rail Development Commission and a former federal railroad administrator.
“As director, I look forward to working closely with our public and private partners to truly transform transportation and move Ohio into a prosperous new world,” she said in a press release.