Governor may have freer hand to hire UDOT chief

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The Utah Senate gave unanimous approval Wednesday to a bill that would give Gov. Gary Herbert a freer hand to choose the new head of the Utah Department of Transportation.

SB178, which now goes to the House, would no longer require the governor to choose from candidates recommended by the Utah Transportation Commission. The governor would merely need to consult with the commission instead.

Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal, sponsor of the bill, said he believes choosing that member of the governor's cabinet should be his own call. Herbert announced in December that he plans to replace current UDOT Executive Director John Njord —¬†who has said he will serve until replaced.

— Lee Davidson