Breaking News
More () »

Republican senators call for MoDOT chief's removal

In a letter to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin said MoDOT's director, Patrick McKenna, should "either resign or be fired."
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS — Six Republican state senators are calling for the removal of the Missouri Department of Transportation's leadership, citing a dispute over funding and putting pressure on a $2.1 billion department that figures heavily in economic development efforts.

In a letter Tuesday to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, which oversees MoDOT, state Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin, R-Shelbina, said MoDOT's director, Patrick McKenna, and deputy director, Ed Hassinger, should "either resign or be fired."

The letter cited the commission's December lawsuit against the state's head of the Office of Administration over his refusal to commit funds from the State Road Fund to implement a new "market pay plan" for employees.

"In what can only be categorized as a classic bait and switch, the (MoDOT) director and his leadership team pleaded with the legislature for his entire tenure that he needed more funds to improve our state's deteriorating road system," O'Laughlin wrote. "Within months after receiving the legislative authority to fund our state's highest priority roads and bridges, Director McKenna announced he had changed his priority and intended to divert the state's road and bridge dollars to pay raises and personnel."

A spokeswoman for the six-member commission, whose members are appointed by the governor and approved by the Missouri Senate, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Jefferson City News-Tribune in December reported that MoDOT wants to use nearly $60 million from the State Road Fund to increase employee pay, with the commission arguing that the state constitution grants it "broad access" to the fund, including for hiring and retaining employees. 

Click here for the full story.