NCDOT chief operating officer out

Published 12:19 am Friday, July 31, 2020

Associated Press

RALEIGH (AP) — A top executive’s departure from the North Carolina Department of Transportation has nothing to do with state Treasurer Dale Folwell’s call earlier this month to replace him, a DOT spokesperson said Thursday.

Chief Operating Officer Bobby Lewis’ last day on the job will be today, according to the agency.

Lewis submitted his resignation letter on July 6, spokesperson Jamie Kritzer wrote in an email. That was nine days before Folwell announced in a news release he wanted the chief operating officer and chief financial officer removed from their jobs. Folwell cited “continued mismanagement” at the agency.

Kritzer said Folwell didn’t “communicate with anyone at NCDOT before distributing his news release.” Kritzer said Lewis had made “his intentions to return to the private sector clear some time ago.”

On July 15, another DOT spokesperson identified Lewis as the chief operating officer. His pending departure wasn’t mentioned.

Lewis’ resignation was first reported by The Insider state government news service.

Chief Financial Officer Evan Rodewald remains on the job at DOT, a Cabinet-level agency in Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration.

The legislature has approved two financial bailouts since last fall for DOT, which also has been the subject of recent state audits criticizing the agency for overspending.

A law approved by the General Assembly several weeks ago reconfigured the state Board of Transportation, whose members have been chosen by the governor, to include some appointees picked by the Republican House speaker and Senate leader.

Terms of the reconstituted 20-member board begin today. On Thursday, Senate leader Phil Berger named to the board two retired senators — Jerry Tillman of Randolph County and Andy Wells of Catawba County. Both left their seats in the past month before their current two-year terms ended.

“Andy and Jerry bring a no-nonsense attitude and significant budgeting experience to the Board, and I’m hopeful they can help turn the agency around,” Berger said.