DOT Chairman abruptly quits

The chairman of the state Department of Transportation board stepped down Thursday, saying he and the department’s commissioner had developed a relationship that ‘‘we both want to be more than professional.’’

Mike Evans has served on the powerful board for five years. Commissioner Gena Abraham, the hand-picked choice of Governor Sonny Perdue to lead the troubled agency, has been at the helm for five months.

Evans was a key vote last year in a 7-6 board decision that gave the job to Abraham over Columbus-area legislator Vance Smith, a state representative who chairs the House Transportation Committee. Evans, a former House member, had been a close friend of Smith's and they served together in the General Assembly for eight years.

Evans says the relationship developed over the last month or so, and that he approached the board’s vice chairman to decide how to handle the matter. The board was informed Wednesday and met in executive session for almost two hours Thursday morning before Evans announced his resignation.