Virginia still looking for PPP head

Nearly two months after the launch of a stand-alone division in charge of delivering PPPs, Virginia is still seeking resumes for the right person to fill the division’s top spot, the state’s transportation head said in a conference call with reporters.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is still searching for the right person to head up its new public-private partnership division, the department’s top executive said on a conference call with reporters.

“If you know anybody, send us a resume,” Sean Connaughton, the Virginia Secretary of Transportation, said in response to a question from Infrastructure Investor about the hiring process.

In December, the department created a new division, the Public-Private Transportation Act Office, to implement the commonwealth’s Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA), a 1995 law that governs public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The creation of the PPTA office followed a departmental audit by Republican Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell. The audit uncovered approximately $1 billion in unused money – a finding that upset McDonnell and caused him to fire at least one manager and demote others within the department.

Charlie Kilpatrick, the department’s chief deputy commissioner, was tapped as the PPTA Office’s interim chief. Dusty Holcombe, the department’s assistant director of innovative project delivery, was tapped as deputy director.

Kilpartrick said the new PPTA Office will function as a standalone division whose employees all answer to a director “whose sole job is to put [PPP] projects together”.

Connaughton praised the office’s work on the I-95/I-395 project, which will proceed without a controversial I-395 segment, and said the project is an example of the type of work the office will be doing.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is looking within the public and private sectors to find a permanent head for the PPTA Office, Connaughton said. He also indicated the department has sought more flexibility on salary and compensation for the position.

A job ad for the position previously placed its salary range between $85,000 and $143,470 per year.