Oklahoma Turnpike Authority searches for new director

A new Oklahoma Turnpike Authority director will be responsible solely for overseeing the toll roads. Another person will be hired to head the Oklahoma Transportation Department. Both positions now are held by Gary Ridley, who will retire March 31.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: January 25, 2013 at 7:26 pm •  Published: January 26, 2013
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The next director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority will be responsible solely for that agency.

Albert C. Kelly, chairman of the Turnpike Authority, said Friday the agency hopes to name a new director by April to succeed Gary Ridley, who will stay on the governor's Cabinet as secretary of transportation.

Ridley is director of the Turnpike Authority and director of the state Transportation Department. He announced in December he will retire from both positions March 31.

“We'll have a single individual running the OTA and a single individual running ODOT,” Kelly said.

Ridley has served as director of both agencies since 2009. In the 1990s, Neal McCaleb also served as director of the Turnpike Authority and the Transportation Department, as well as a Cabinet secretary of transportation.

Authority members met in a closed session to discuss plans to find a director to succeed Ridley.

“We would very much like to have a selection made by the time Mr. Ridley has departed,” Kelly said.

Kelly said the authority doesn't plan to advertise for the post. Ridley, who has been the Transportation Department's director since 2001, is known nationally in the highway industry and word has spread about his retirement.

Kelly said the authority is not planning at this time to hire a firm to help with the search.