The Wyoming Transportation Commission has given handful of nominees to Gov. Mark Gordon to choose from to be Wyoming’s new transportation director.
In a short three-paragraph statement released on March 9, Gordon announced former Wyoming Department of Transportation Luke Reiner would retire after four years in the role.
Reiner testified and participated in the 2023 Legislature, with no public notice that his retirement was imminent.
All five of the nominees are state employees and four are ranking officials with the Wyoming Department of Transportation. The lone exception is Darin Westby, Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources director. The other nominees are:
• Dennis Byrne, WYDOT chief financial officer
• Tom DeHoff, WYDOT assistant chief engineer for operations
• Mark Gillett, WYDOT chief engineer
• Taylor Rossetti, WYDOT support services administrator
“It’s a really critical position,” said Pat Crank, a Transportation Commission member.
The director of WYDOT not only oversees management of the state’s roads, but also the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the state’s motor vehicle and driver licensing services and provides support to airports.
When asked why Reiner chose to step down when he did and if the decision had been planned for some time or was a recent development, Michael Pearlman, a spokesperson for Gordon, declined additional comment.
Pearlman said Reiner his last day on the job was the day before the retirement announcement was made. Pearlman did not provide an answer when asked when Reiner gave his notice of retirement.
Crank said he had no prior knowledge Reiner would retire.
Repeated calls and emails to WYDOT and Reiner about the matter were not answered.
Reiner and his staff battled through a tough winter this season with historic snow and cold temperatures blanketing most of Wyoming’s roads. Entering the winter, the agency was short 71 snowplow drivers.
WYDOT has been battling low staffing for some time in a number of areas. The Wyoming Highway Patrol had more than 50 vacancies for sworn officers in January, about a quarter of its available workforce.
Reiner previously served as adjutant general for Wyoming the Wyoming Military Department, where he was responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, plans and programs for the roughly 3,000 men and women assigned to the Wyoming Air and Army National Guard. He also was responsible for the Wyoming Veterans Affairs Commission and the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery.
Reiner served in the Wyoming Army National Guard, where he commanded the Guard’s 115th Fires Brigade. He also served as commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom II.