Retired Columbus banker Sam Wellborn is a senior member of the DOT board and former chairman.
He said terminating DOT Commissioner Gena Evans on Thursday was a difficult decision, but one that had to be made.
"The board felt for some time that there needed to be a change in direction, and today it acted," Wellborn said. "It was the right action. Mrs. Evans has a lot of good qualities, but it was clearly time to move in another direction."
When Evans was hired, Wellborn was one of six board members to vote for state Rep. Vance Smith, a Pine Mountain Republican, for the job.
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Smith, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, fell one vote short of getting the job he actively sought.
Wellborn did not rule out a possibility Smith could be reconsidered.
"We are going to enter into a national search," Wellborn said. "That decision would be entirely up to Vance to see if he wanted to be a candidate."
Smith was careful to say Thursday night that his immediate focus is elsewhere. He has been working on statewide transportation legislation that will come up for a vote next week.
"I have a transportation bill coming to the floor Tuesday," Smith said. "That is my only focus. I have been working on this bill which will benefit all of the citizens of Georgia for at least two years."