John Kasich, Ohio governor, has named Sandy Barber, Fulton County recorder and chairman of the Fulton County Republican Party, to the Ohio Turnpike Commission.
Barber said Kasich asked her to serve.
“I gave it some thought, and I decided it might be interesting,” she said.
“I’m on the turnpike all the time when I go to Toledo. We use it when we go to Chicago. I’m able to use it frequently. It’s right out our back door.
“I said I’d be more than happy to serve.”
It will be a chance to work with Rick Hodges, a 1982 Archbold High School graduate and the executive director of the Turnpike Commission.
“I’ve known him since he was in high school,” Barber said.
It won’t be her first time on a state commission. Barber served on the Ohio Lottery Commission for 15 years, from 1991 to 2006.
Barber’s appointment was announced in a press release Monday, June 4. Her term on the commission extends from June 4, 2012 to June 30, 2019.
She said she will observe and study Turnpike Commission operations in preparation for making important decisions as a commissioner.
A private firm is conducting a study to determine whether it is economically feasible to lease some or all turnpike operations to private firms.
The cost of the study recently increased from $2.85 million to $3.4 million, as a $550,000 increase was approved by the State Controlling Board to hire additional lawyers.
Texas-based KPMG Corporate Finance is conducting the study, which Steve Faulkner, Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman, said is technically “an opportunity analysis.”
The analysis is being done “to see if revenue can be unlocked from this state-owned asset.”
Barber said she would not comment on the opportunity analysis.
She said she won’t have any idea how she will react to the analysis until she sees the final report and has an opportunity to study it thoroughly.
“I will keep an open mind,” she said.
The reported from KPMG is expected by the end of the year.
Lauren Hakos, manager of marketing and communications for the Turnpike Commission, said Barber replaces Adam Greenslade, who resigned prior to applying for employment with the Commission.
The Commission is made up of five voting members and four non-voting members when at full strength.
The governor appoints four of the voting members with the advice and consent of the Ohio Senate. No more than two of the members may be from the same political party.
The fifth voting member of the commission is the director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, who is considered an ex-officio member.
The four non-voting members are composed of the state director of development, the director of the Ohio Management and Budget, plus one state senator and one state representative.