Former Santa Rosa County Commissioner Gordon Goodin, a Navarre Republican, is among the nine semifinalists to become Florida's next secretary of transportation.
The Florida Transportation Commission will interview Goodin, who owns Bayside Development Co., Holley Dirt Co., Inc., and Specialty Sand Products, all of Santa Rosa County, and the other eight semifinalists beginning at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 11, in Orlando. The commission will recommend three candidates to Gov. Rick Scott, who will choose the new secretary, by Feb. 14.
Goodin, a former president of the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, was elected in 2002 and 2006 to represent District 4 on the county commission before losing his bid for a third term to Republican challenger Jim Melvin in the August 2010 GOP primary. Improving transportation has been among Goodin's priorities as a business leader and an elected official. He has advocated for an alternate to U.S. Highway 98 and improving the State Road 87 evacuation corridor between U.S. 98 and Interstate 65 in Alabama and has worked on transportation issues with regional, state and national officials.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos, who is continuing in the position until she's replaced or until mid-March, when she's expected to become manager of Clay County. Goodin is among 45 applicants to lead the Florida Department of Transportation. The other eight semifinalists include state Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City; Tom Conrecode, Collier Enterprises; Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Thomas Sorel; Bernie Seel of Indiana-based Seel Jackson Consulting LLC; Jorge Figueredo, Figueredo Solutions, Inc.; Richard Anderson, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority; and Janet Kavinoky, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
According to published reports, Scott wanted Washington, D.C., transportation consultant Tyler Duvall for the job, but Duvall did not apply.
The transportation secretary earns about $120,000 per year, about twice what county commissioners are paid.
FDOT has more than 7,100 employees and a $6.9 billion annual budget. According to the job listing, the secretary "must be personally committed to improving the mobility and economic strength of one of the nation’s fastest-growing states through effective planning strategies that support the utilization of innovative technology, finance and industry best practices."
Navarre resident Bart Pullum is vice-chair of the Florida Transportation Commission, the primary functions of which are to review major transportation policy initiatives or revisions submitted by FDOT, recommend major transportation policy to the governor and legislature, to oversee the department and state-created transportation authorities and to help choose the state's top transportation official.