April 2009 highlights
Organ donor program honored
Retirement gives McClure chance to reflect on 'satisfying' tenure
Monte McClure was in a familiar environment last week, returning to ITD’s Headquarters to complete employee exit papers. But the access badge hanging from his shirt pocket was different than he was accustomed to… It was a visitor’s badge checked out from the security desk.
McClure formally ended more than 13 years as a member of the Idaho Transportation Board last month. Officially, his second full term ended Jan. 30, but he remained on the board until Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointment of Jerry Whitehead to represent District 3.
Former Gov. Phil Batt appointed McClure to complete a 1 1⁄2 year term on the board in 1995 when the governing body was composed of just three members; each member represented two ITD administrative districts.
Calton-Hughes joined ITD Director Pam Lowe, Alex McDonald from the Intermountain Donor Services organization in Salt Lake City and two other speakers for a brief organ/tissue donor awareness ceremony. Following formal presentations and a bagpipes rendition of “Irish Eyes are Smiling,” participants raised an organ/tissue donor flag on the ITD flagpole. It will remain on display throughout April.
Headquarters ceremony launches organ donor month
ITD is a partner with the Intermountain Donor Services in promoting organ donations through a check-off on driver’s license forms. Idaho ranks among the top 10 states nationwide for organ donor participation by drivers, Lowe said.
Sixty percent of Idaho’s licensed drivers have registered to donate organs or tissue.
Dolores Macias, of Boise, agreed to become an organ donor when she learned that a co-worker’s daughter needed a kidney. Through a series of ironic events, she was unable to donate to the young woman, but followed through with her selfless gift by agreeing to share a kidney with a stranger.
Jerry Whitehead named new board member
Idaho native Jerry Whitehead joined the Idaho Transportation Board in March as the representative for District 3. He replaces Monte McClure who finished his second full term on the board earlier this year.
Whitehead has an extensive background in transportation. He established a trailer manufacturing business in Boise four decades ago and continues to serve as president and owner of Western Trailers. He has been a member of the Idaho Motor Carrier Advisory Committee the past 16 years and is past chairman of the Idaho Trucking Association and Idaho Truck Pac Inc.
The new board member was born in Thatcher and graduated from high school in Grace. He studied welding technology at Boise Junior College (now BSU) and joined the Idaho Air National Guard in 1964, training in advanced design airframe repair.
Commuters share the road, not the vehicles
One may be the loneliest number, but also may be among the most common at ITD.
A survey of commuting practices conducted last summer reveals that more than three-fourths of ITD’s district employees made the trip to and from work by themselves. The survey began in June and concluded in September; the final results were discussed at a meeting of ITD’s Green House Gas Reduction Team.
The team was formed in response to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s executive order issued in May 2007 that directed all state agencies to create and implement plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The 2008 survey indicated employees in districts 1 and 3 were the least likely to share the commute; 80.5 percent of the District 1 workers drove alone, and 80 percent of those in District 3 had no passengers. Only 68.7 percent of the District 4 drivers were unaccompanied.
House approves GARVEE bill, rejects gas tax hike
Members of the Idaho House April 10 approved issuing an additional $82 million in GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) bonds to continue projects on six major Idaho corridors.
By a 10-vote margin (39-29), the House approved sending SB 1186 to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for signing. Approval followed about two hours of debate and came almost exactly 24 hours after House members rejected a proposed two-cent increase in the state’s vehicle fuel tax.
Conference focuses on latest design, construction strategies
ITD and the transportation community gathered to celebrate exemplary design and construction projects at the mid-point of the bi-annual Project Development Conference in Boise.
The two-day conference included five formal “plenary” presentations Tuesday and more than 30 breakout sessions Wednesday, organized into four concurrent tracks: planning/traffic, design/traffic, environmental and materials. Topics were intended primarily for people responsible for planning, designing, building and maintaining highway systems.
The conference was a resounding success, said chairman Monica Crider. Approximately 250 people registered for the comprehensive symposium that also featured 25 sponsors and 26 exhibitors. Offered every two years, the symposium provides an opportunity to explore “practical solutions for transportation systems,” including transportation visions, mobility, safety, innovation, economics and the environment.
Former board member Jack Combo passes away
ITD joins family members of Jack Combo in mourning his passing early April 3). The long-time transportation board member, public servant, civic leader and friend lost a hard-fought battle with cancer at home in Idaho Falls. Mr. Combo retired from the transportation board early in 2008 and received a festive farewell during a March 2008 ceremony at Headquarters. An advocate of ITD employees and their continuing education, he served on the board 18 years (six terms), from 1990 to 2008.
ITD extends its deepest condolences to Mr. Combo's family. Information about formal services will be provided when it becomes available. Please see the 2008 Transporter for more about Jack's many contributions to the department and state of Idaho.
ITD unveils accountability Web site
ITD introduced a new Web site this week that tracks the department’s progress in addressing recent audits and Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s executive order to document ongoing efficiencies.
“Tracking our Progress” organizes ITD’s reporting process into four areas:
1. Accountability and action plans
3. Federal stimulus projects and
4. Other ITD projects, such as GARVEE projects, project planning and traveler information
Perhaps one of the most important features of the new site is the opportunity for visitors to provide suggestions or ask questions via e-mail. The Web site provides convenient links to audits and ITD’s responses, action and strategic plans, its 2008 efficiency report, the annual GARVEE Program report, and expenditures of federal funds for highway construction, public transportation and airport projects.
The site also is linked to state and federal stimulus sites.
Kamiah's Lennett Cantwell receives safety honor
With any luck, the next generation of drivers should include a bunch of them who understand more about highway safety than their parents.
And if that's the case, then Lennett Cantwell, a heavy equipment operator for the Idaho Transportation Department, can claim some of the credit. For the past eight or nine years, Cantwell, 60, has been driving dump trucks and snowplows to local schools to talk to students about the many tasks performed by her agency and how to be safe around work zones.
For her work with students, Cantwell recently received the Idaho Highway Users annual Motorvator Award as the safety person of the year - the first woman to receive such an honor. Rod Parsells, Cantwell's supervisor, said she is a driving force to promote winter driving, highway and work zone safety to children.
Immediate hold placed on new hires
Effectively immediately, hiring of new certified or temporary employees is on hold. Any offers that have been made will be honored. Future offers that were not extended as of now are on hold and not authorized.
Any active announcements or current recruitment advertisements that are publicly advertised may proceed up to the establishment of a register. Those registers will then likewise be on hold.
The announcement said, in part: “We are traversing difficult and extremely dynamic times. There are potential scenarios that new legislation will specify how we address certain personnel and pay issues. Furthermore, there are challenges in the way our revenue and operating needs are unfolding. A budget council meeting was held yesterday and it was determined after careful deliberation at the meeting that we have insufficient personnel budget leeway to address the likely coming events.
“We will be addressing this item immediately within the Compensation Team and outlining a path forward to manage sufficient personnel budget cushion to adequately address these events.”
Project delivery team created
ITD Chief Engineer Tom Cole announced the creation of a team to improve the project delivery schedule as a way of determining the best timing for scheduling and delivering highway construction project.
Cole introduced Nestor Fernandez and Andrea Storjohann as co-chairs of the team when he discussed its goals with transportation board members April 15, 16 in Lewiston. The project delivery team will provide ITD with a long-range view and assist with planning efforts.
Joining Fernandez and Storjohann (District 1) on the team are: Walter Burnside, Bill Shaw, Dave Amick, Randy Gill, and Amanda Hoffman from ITD, and John Perry and Jason Giard from the Federal Highway Administration.
DMV receives federal grant for driver's license, ID security
The federal Department of Homeland Security recently notified ITD and the Division of Motor Vehicles of a grant award to make security enhancements to Idaho’s driver’s licenses and identification cards.
ITD originally requested $755,000 for overt and covert security enhancements to licenses and identification cards, explained Ed Pemble, manager of Driver Services. The award announced earlier this month, was for $833,717, an amount higher than expected. A number of states received larger grants through a redistribution process.
Since the grant application was submitted, it has been determined that some of the enhancements initially envisioned for the grant funds did not require additional funding, Pemble said. That will enable the division to review issuance processes and to make additional enhancements. Funds also could be used for some of the costs related to Idaho’s transition to “central-issue” driver’s licenses.