The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is retiring March 31st.
Melinda McGrath began her career with MDOT in 1985 after graduating from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Prior to her appointment as Executive Director in January 2012 she served in many roles, including project engineer in both the northern and southern districts, and district area engineer over six coastal counties. In 2003, she was named Assistant Chief-Engineer-Field Operations. She was promoted to the position of Deputy Executive Director/Chief Engineer in August 2008.
Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King confirmed the announcement to Y’all Politics on Tuesday, saying Jeff Altman, who is currently on staff at MDOT, will serve as the interim executive director until a permanent replacement is named. King said the Commission plans to have an open application process to be announced soon.
McGrath’s nomination for reappointment as MDOT executive director appeared to be in question this legislative session as Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann double referred the nomination to both the Senate Highway and Transportation Committee and the Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee. Double referring nominations is highly unusual.
Lt. Governor Hosemann addressed the double referral in a recent press conference, saying he had only been there a year and “sometimes I do other things.” He went on to say lawmakers have expressed concerns about MDOT spending and its organizational structure.
Had the Mississippi Senate taken up McGrath’s nomination it would have expired April 1, 2025.
According to MDOT, the executive director is appointed by the three-member elected Transportation Commission and has full and general supervision over administrative and technical matters relating to airport and port development, highway construction and maintenance, weight enforcement, public transit, and rail safety. The executive director administers the policies approved by the Transportation Commission and prepares reports to the Legislature and the Governor.
The MDOT executive director appoints a chief engineer/deputy executive director and a director for each of the four operating offices reporting directly to the executive director. These offices include Highways, Administrative Services, Intermodal Planning and Enforcement. The Audit, Special Assistant Attorneys General, Information Systems, Human Resources, Civil Rights and Public Affairs divisions, also report to the executive director.