The Transportation Committee meeting was far more interesting for what happened in the hallway rather than during the actual meeting. The meeting itself was a standard project update from UDOT et al, with no real compelling or controversial topics being discussed.
The interesting part came when following their initial project report, UDOT Director, John Njord returned to his seat in the audience. Senator Peter Knudsen (R-17) got up from his committee seat, walked towards the door, and motioned for Mr. Njord to follow him. Senator Knudsen shook his hand, placed his other hand on his arm and said, “You’re a better man than all of this. You have a lot of support. Just remember, this too shall pass.”
It was an interesting exchange considering the host of scandals that have plagued UDOT the past few years. Despite John Njord’s handling of the $13M bid payoff, the scapegoating and wrongful termination of a lower-level employee followed by a protracted legal battle and ultimate reinstatement of the employee, questions about bidding practices and procedures, lack of legislative involvement and any oversight for surplus fund spending, John Njord has retained his position as UDOT Director and the Governor has refused to take any action.
Clearly, John Njord has the right friends in the right places.