Brownie may have to move over.
Sonia Pitt, Minnesota’s Emergency Manager isunder investigation for not returning to Minnesota for 10 days after the catastrophic collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge. Her travels and relationship with a federal official are now under scrutiny…
The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s investigation of Sonia
Pitt — the emergency response executive who failed to return to
Minnesota for 10 days after the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed — is
scrutinizing her relationship with a high-ranking federal highway
official in Washington, D.C.
Daniel M. Ferezan, the Federal Highway Administration’s program
manager for transportation security, has been questioned by a private
investigator hired by MnDOT, said Ian Grossman, the top spokesman for
the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.
The investigator is probing Pitt’s whereabouts and her activities with
Ferezan in the frenetic aftermath of the Aug. 1 collapse, Grossman said.
source with direct knowledge of the investigation said that MnDOT is
investigating whether Pitt traveled under false pretenses.
The same source said investigators are looking at whether Ferezan
enabled her to make trips that weren’t appropriate for her job. In some
cases, Ferezan reportedly helped get Pitt designated as a federal
liaison, which provided her cover for travel, the source said.
Are they saying what I think they are saying?
Additionally, Star Trib columnistNick Coleman noted on November 1st that…
Pitt, whose previous experience was limited to public relations and
communications, was appointed in November 2003, supervising five
workers and an office budget of $5 million. According to records
obtained by state Sen. Kathy Saltzman, neither Pitt nor her staff was
certified by the state in emergency management training of the kind
required for local officials.
Bonus weirdness: A Powerpoint presentation prepared by Pitt to explain
the duties of her office had a section on Emergency Operations Centers
that featured a photo of a large round table where 30 men are sitting
in a doomsday setting. The photo shows “the war room” from the 1964
Stanley Kubrick film, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop
Worrying and Love the Bomb.”
Pitt wasn’t present to receive her Heckuva Job nickname. Perhaps we can belatedly bestow her with one. I’m thinking Pittstop…What say you?
UPDATE: Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty says MnDOT has
made a decision on what to do about Pitt but“he can’t say anything, because of state data practices laws.”
And therehave been calls for Republican Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau to resign her other job as state transportation commissioner for various concerns on her management of the transportation department.