The Resource Agency history of the Virginia Secretary of Transportation
- Agency history of the Virginia Secretary of Transportation
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- In 1970, the Governor's Management Commission Study recommended the creation of six "Deputy Governors" to assist the Chief Executive in his managerial duties. Compatible functions of government were grouped under these administrative heads, who would serve as the Governors top management team or "secretariats," as they are called now.
- Governor Linwood Holton's top priority for the 1972 session of the General Assembly was a proposal for a Governor's Cabinet, reorganizing state agencies into six major departments--each headed by a secretary appointed by the governor. Transportation and public safety was one of these six departments. The office of Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety was created on April 8, 1972, by an act passed by the General Assembly. Governor Holton appointed Wayne A. Whitham, a member of the Winchester City Council, as the first Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety. When Whitham took office on July 1, 1972, he was responsible for State Highway Commission, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of State Police, Highway Safety Division, Office of Emergency Services, Department of Military Affairs, Virginia State Crime Commission and the Law Enforcement Officers Training Standards Commission. The Office has undergone a series of administrative reorganizations since. On April 12, 1976, the Legislature established separate secretariats for transportation and for public safety, effective July 1, 1976. On July 1, 1984, the offices were again combined. Most recently, the Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety was divided into separate secretariats on February 22, 1990. The Secretary of Transportation is a member of the Governor's Cabinet, and is appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. The Secretary is responsible to the governor for the Department of Transportation, Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Department of Aviation, Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia Port Authority and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Board.
- Wayne A. Whitham, the first Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety, was reappointed by Governor-elect Miles E. Godwin, Jr., in December 1973 and by Governor-elect John N. Dalton in December 1977. Whitham suffered a heart attack in August 1978 and resigned in December 1978. On June 7, 1984, Whitham died in Richmond, Virginia. Governor Dalton named George M. Walters, a former top executive of the Reynolds Metals Corporation, to succeed Whitham as Secretary of Transportation. Walters served until the end of Dalton's term in January 1982. Governor-elect Charles S. Robb, the first Democrat to be elected governor since 1965, did not retain any of Dalton's cabinet secretaries. Robb appointed Andrew B. Fogarty, Dalton's assistant secretary for financial policy, as Secretary of Transportation. On July 1, 1984, the secretariats of transportation and public safety were combined again. As a result this partial reorganization of state government, Governor Robb appointed Fogarty Secretary of Administration and Franklin E. White, Secretary of Public Safety, assumed Fogarty's Transportation duties. White, who served as a White House liaison official under President Jimmy Carter, resigned in June 1985 to become the New York state commissioner of transportation. He was replaced by Andrew Fogarty who served until the end of the Robb administration. He later served as Governor Gerald L. Baliles chief of staff from August 1986 to October 1989 when he resigned to become a vice president with CSX Corporation.
- In December 1985, Governor-elect Gerald L. Baliles, picked Vivian E. Watts, a northern Virginia legislator, as Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety. Watts served until the end of Baliles' term in 1990. In 1995 she was elected to her old seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. On February 22, 1990, the Secretary of Transportation and Public Safety was divided into separate secretariats. Governor L. Douglas Wilder, appointed John G. Milliken, a member of the Arlington County Board of Supervisors, as the Secretary of Transportation. Milliken resigned on December 17, 1993.
- In February 1994 Governor George Allen, the first Republican elected governor since 1977, appointed Robert Martinez as Secretary of Transportation. Martinez was born in Cuba and had served as Deputy Administrator for the Marine Administration and Associate Deputy Secretary of Transportation during President George H.W. Bush's administration. At the end of Governor Allen's term in January 1998, Martinez joined the Norfolk Southern Corporation. Shirley Ybarra, deputy Secretary of Transportation in the Allen administration, was named Martinez's successor by Governor-elect James Gilmore. Ybarra previously worked as a special assistant to Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole during President Ronald Reagan's administration. Ybarra served until the end of Gilmore's administration in January 2002. Whittington W. Clement, a former lawyer and long-time member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the City of Danville, was appointed Secretary of Transportation by Governor Mark R. Warner in 2002. Pierce R. Homer, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, replaced Clement in 2005.
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