Jan Vassar, former Lewiston city manager, has been appointed to the Idaho Transportation Board, replacing the vacancy left by the death of Bruce Sweeney in August. Vassar is the first woman to serve on the transportation board, according to ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten, though the ITD Board has only existed since 1974. Prior to that it was a three-member Board of Highway Directors.
"To the best of my knowledge, Jan Vassar would be the first woman to serve on either the board of highway directors or the transportation board," Stratten said.
Vassar also fills in for one of the bipartisan board's Democratic seats; Sweeney was a long time Democratic state legislator. Vassar will serve out the remainder of Sweeney's term, through January 2010. Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter will have to reappoint her for another 6-year term.
According to the governor's press release: "Vassar has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington State University. She was Lewiston’s city manager from September 1992 to February 2006, supervising all city departments including the airport, police, fire, parks, community development and public works. Before that she was director of Administrative Services for the city, executive assistant to the city manager, and city clerk. In addition, Vassar has been a member of the Idaho Public Transportation Advisory Council since July 2007."
In the three months that Sweeney's seat was vacant, Otter interviewed "a number of candidates,' according to Otter spokesman Jon Hanian. Also, former ITD director Pam Lowe, the department's first woman chief, filed a wrongful termination law suit against the board alleging, among other things, gender discrimination.