New CEO for Ohio Turnpike - Richard Hodges PERSONNEL
By Peter Samuel
The Ohio Turnpike has a new chief executive. Richard Hodges, 48 currently a lobbyist for the state workers compensation bureau was approved for the position of executive director in a four to zero vote of the state Turnpike Commission at a special meeting today. Like George Distel his predecessor Hodges is a former politician who had seven years in the state House. But unlike Distel a Democrat, Hodges is a Republican.
Ohio's Governor John Kasich elected last November is a Republican and it is a political convention that the Governor has the major say in nominating people for top state jobs such as executive director of the Turnpike.
Most of Hodges career has been working for different trade associations - a mechanical contractors association, an association of realtors, a builders association, public schools commission...
Commission chairman Jerry Hruby is quoted as having said of Hodges: "He has a good background in a variety of things that are integral to the operations of the Ohio Turnpike."
Hruby said there were five candidates for the position and Hodges was "clearly the best."
Before going into state politics Hodges was treasurer of Fulton County. He comes from the town of Delta a bit outside Toledo and just off the Turnpike at Exit 39. He'll have to move east or do some long-distance commuting because the Turnpike is run out of a head office in Berea a suburb of Cleveland - 135 miles from his home.
The Ohio press quotes Hodges as saying he thinks highly of the Ohio Turnpike Commission and calls it a "crown jewels" of the state. As for Governor Kasich's study of privatizing the Turnpike he says he is "open to all options."
He'll be on a salary of $129k.