DIVISON 14 INCLUDES HENDERSON COUNTY
THE ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES REPORTED WEDNESDAY...
The state Department of Transportation has demoted and replaced its top employee for 10 Western North Carolina counties.
DOT announced today that Joel Setzer was no longer Division 14 engineer effective Tuesday and has been replaced by Ed Green, who was maintenance engineer in DOT’s Asheville-based Division 13 until his promotion.
Setzer had held the job with broad reponsibilities for DOT operations in Polk, Henderson and Haywood counties and all North Carolina counties west of there since 2004 and will now be an assistant engineer for Division 14. He has worked for DOT since 1986.
The state auditor’s office found in June 2012 that Division 14 employees had wasted thousands of dollars through poor management, questionable purchases and possibly outright fraud.
Auditors found $3.7 million in cost overruns on a highway project, $107,000 in questionable overtime payments to two employees and $31,427 in equipment purchases made without following proper procedures. Three DOT employees were disciplined in connection with incidents examined by the audit.
Setzer said his understanding of the reasons behind the move is “basically, the new administration wanted to make a change.”
He said he “was not told that the (demotion) was related to the findings in the state auditor’s report.”
“This decision reflects a shift in direction as the department continues to move forward with its goals of operating more efficiently and improving customer service,” said Jim Trogdon, DOT’s chief deputy secretary of operations.
DOT spokeswoman Julia Casadonte said she could offer little additional information about the reasons behind the changes.
“The only thing we can say is this was unrelated to any specific incident or project,” she said.
Green has been at DOT for 29 years. He had been Division 13 maintenance engineer for 10 years and previously was a county engineer and a district engineer.