John Kasich’s Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray sent an email to everyone at ODOT this week announcing that District 5 Deputy Director Joe Rutherford had been removed from his position, and District 5 Business and Human Resources Administrator Colleen Ryan had been placed on administrative leave.
Both Ryan and Rutherford are Republicans appointed to their positions under John Kasich.
Earlier this year Republican State Auditor Dave Yost praised Rutherford for his work at ODOT during a Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner in Guernsey County.
District 5 serves Coshocton, Fairfield, Guernsey, Knox, Licking, Muskingum and Perry counties. The district headquarters is in Jacksontown.
We’ve heard a number of rumors about why Ryan and Rutherford have been removed, but none that we are willing to publish at this time. This is a developing story and we expect new information to be available soon.
We asked the Inspector General’s office if an investigation had been opened into Ryan and or Rutherford. Chief Legal Counsel James Manken provided us this response: “…it is the policy of the office to only comment on closed investigations. We do not have any ODOT investigations that are closed at this time involving Mr. Rutherford and/or Mrs. Ryan.”
Here’s the email from Jerry Wray.
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 3:16 PM
Subject: District 5 Leadership Changes
As of Friday November 8, 2013, Joe Rutherford will no longer be serving as the Deputy Director of District 5. Beginning today, Julie Gwinn, District 5’s Highway Management Administrator (HMA), has been named the acting Deputy Director in his place. Julie will also continue her duties as HMA.
In addition, Colleen Ryan, District 5’s Business and Human Resources Administrator (BHRA), has been placed on Administrative Leave as of yesterday, November 12. Scott Fulks will assume the acting BHRA role starting today, and Jill Dible will provide Labor Relations support to District 5.
Kelly Greene will be providing administrative support for Julie Gwinn.