ALDOT to merge Troy office into new region

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Alabama Department of Transportation Department’s seventh division based in Troy will merge into a new regional structure effective Oct. 1.

The change, announced Tuesday by Transportation Director John Cooper, is the second regional merger in the effort to restructure the statewide agency. The first consolation took place in August 2013, when the ninth and eighth divisions were merged into one region based in Mobile.

“When we announced the process of consolidating our nine divisions into five regions, we recognized it would be a phased process,” Cooper said in a statement. “We are now seeing the right timing for consolidating the Sixth and Seventh Divisions, and will begin looking at the right timing for the remainder of the consolidation process.”

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ALDOT’s operational division based in Troy, known as the Seventh Division, and the division based in Montgomery, known as the Sixth Division, will combine to form the new Southeast Region. The Southeast Region will also include Lee and Russell counties from the Fourth Division. Those two counties will join the Sixth Division counties of Autauga, Bullock, Butler, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon and Montgomery, and the Seventh Division counties of Barbour, Coffee, Crenshaw, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike.

State Maintenance Engineer George Connor has been appointed region engineer for the Southeast Region. Mike Griffin, who has served more than 40 years with ALDOT and is the current division engineer in Troy, is retiring effective Oct. 1.

“There will be no difference for the employees in Troy, other than their reporting structure may slightly change,” said Tony Harris, ALDOT spokesman. “We will have some meetings with local officials prior to Oct. 1 to introduce the new region engineer.”

The Troy division was created in 1947 and currently employees 324 people. Statewide, ALDOT employs 4,400, including 339 in the Montgomery division, Harris said.

“This consolidation will results in savings … in the streamlining of how we deliver services,” Harris said. “We will be able to concentrate more of the decision-making on a region level, with the regional engineer, rather than having to send everything to the state office here in Montgomery.”

He said any changes in workforce would be due to attrition. “We already contracted our workforce by 400 individuals between January 2011 and January 2013,” he said.

“We know (reducing workforces) is a trend in all of state government, and just yesterday Sen. Dale Marsh said one consideration for balancing the budget in FYE16 would be another 9 percent reduction in state workforce,” Harris said. “But many of our sources of revenue are not traditional general fund resources.”

ALDOT oversees preconstruction, construction and maintenance on all state and U.S. highways and county roads eligible for federal aid, such as all local bridge projects. The department also oversees any federal aid provided on local road or bridge projects.

The process of combining the remaining divisions into regions will be completed by mid-2015, Cooper said. No specific timeline has been established for exactly when each remaining consolidation will take place.