Shumlin names Brian Searles as Transportation Secretary and Sue Minter as Deputy Secretary

first_imgBurlington International Airport (BTV),Governor-elect Shumlin today announced his “transportation team.” Brian Searles will be the Agency of Transportation’s next Secretary; Sue Minter will serve as Deputy Secretary. Searles, former Transportation Secretary under Governor Dean, currently is director of Burlington International Airport. He has led the airport during several rounds of infrastructure improvements and increases in passenger boardings.Dick Mazza, Brian Searles, Governor-elect Shumlin and Sue Minter at the transition office in Montpelier Monday afternoon. Photo: VBM Vermont Business Magazine.‘Brian Searles has the experience, talent and leadership abilities necessary to rebuild our state’s aging infrastructure and revitalize our public transit system in a cost effective manner,’ said Governor-elect Shumlin. ‘His leadership on this critical issue will be instrumental to our mission of job creation. I am thrilled that Brian has agreed to join my administration and thank him for his willingness to serve.’Brian has worked in the public sector for more than 40 years as a police chief, city manager and airport director. He has 13 years experience in state government including Exec Dir of the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council, Commissioner of Personnel, Deputy Secretary of Administration and Secretary of Transportation. For the past five years he has been Director of Aviation at Burlington International Airport. Brian Searles grew up in Essex Jct and received an M.S in Administration from St. Michael’s College. As Secretary of Transportation, Brian’s salary will be approximately $115,000.Searles will continue in his post at the airport until he is sworn in as secretary. The head of the airport is appointed by the mayor of Burlington, typically after a recommendation of the airport commission. The airport is part of the City of Burlington.Searles said that after 18 months in which air transport has suffered around the nation, and to some extent at BTV, passenger boardings in Burlington increased the last three months. He also said that Southwest Airlines buying AirTran could likely be a good thing for Burlington, as it would extend Southwest’s market to places like Burlington. AirTran had served Burlington from 2008 to 2009. ‘Sue Minter has incredible experience and an inspiring vision for the future of transportation in Vermont,’ said Governor-elect Shumlin. ‘Her understanding of the complex issues surrounding transportation make her uniquely qualified for this important role. I am grateful that Sue has agreed to take on this challenge.’As a member of the House Transportation Committee, Minter traveled around Vermont and was instrumental in drawing attention to the problem of Vermont’s deteriorating roads and bridges. For the last two years, she has served on the House Appropriations Committee, where she has overseen the budget of the Vermont Agency of Transportation. She has been widely respected in the Legislature for her ability to work across party lines to pass key transportation initiatives.Sue Minter received a BA from Harvard University, and a masters in Urban and Community Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As Deputy Secretary, Minter’s salary will be approximately $85,000. Also in attendance was Dick Mazza of Colchester, who is the longtime chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.With federal stimulus money drying up and the economy still sluggish, the administration and the Legislature will have fewer dollars with which to work. Shumlin stressed the need to “work smarter” with the limited resources available. He emphasized that maintenance of existing roads and bridges would be the priority over new, big ticket projects. As for the such big ticket items, he said he would not commit one way or the other to the Circumferential Highway in Chittenden County, but would gather interested parties to see what could be done. He said he did not want to be bogged down by a project that had frustrated every governor since Richard Snelling’s first term. The Circ was in the news last week following a negative report from the EPA over the Circ’s impact on local waterways. Another common theme during the press conference was the need to account for climate change, not only in the use of public transportation but also in the planning and development of downtowns.last_img read more