Section 29. (a) There shall be within the department an office of planning and programming which shall be under the supervision, direction and control the secretary. The secretary shall be appointed by the governor pursuant to paragraph 2 of section 2. The secretary shall be the executive and administrative head of the department and shall be responsible for administering and enforcing the provisions of law relative to the department and to each administrative unit thereof. The secretary shall act as the executive officer in all matters pertaining to the administration, management, operation, regulation, planning, fiscal and policy development functions and affairs of the departments, agencies, commissions, offices, boards, divisions, and other agencies within the executive office. The secretary shall serve at the pleasure of the governor, shall receive such salary as may be determined by law, and shall devote his full time to the duties of his office. In the case of an absence or vacancy in the office of the secretary, or in the case of disability as determined by the board, the board may designate an acting secretary to serve as secretary until the vacancy is filled or the absence or disability ceases. The acting secretary shall have all the powers and duties of the secretary and shall have similar qualifications as the secretary.
(b) The office of planning and programming shall contain the following administrative units: the highway division, the mass transit division, the aeronautics division; and the registry of motor vehicles.
(c) The secretary shall, notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 30 and section 9A of chapter 31 and subject to the approval of the governor, appoint 4 administrators: 1 of whom shall be the administrator for highways and shall be a person of skill and experience in the fields of highway management and public works; 1 of whom shall be the administrator for mass transit and shall be a person of skill and experience in the fields of rail transportation or mass transit; 1 of whom shall be the administrator for aeronautics and shall be a person of skill and experience in the field of aeronautics; and 1 of whom shall be the administrator for motor vehicle enforcement, who shall be known as the registrar of motor vehicles and shall be a person of skill and experience in management and motor vehicle law. Each administrator shall receive such salary as the secretary shall determine, subject to the approval of the board, and shall devote his full time to the duties of his office.
(d) Subject to appropriation and consistent with subsection (e), the secretary may appoint such persons as he shall deem necessary to perform the functions of the department; provided, however, that section 9A of chapter 30 and chapter 31 shall not apply to any person holding any such appointment. Every person so appointed to any position in the department shall have experience and skill in the field of such position. So far as practicable in the judgment of the secretary, appointments to such positions in the executive office shall be made by promoting or transferring employees of the commonwealth serving in positions which are classified under said chapter 31, and such appointments shall at all times reflect the professional needs of the administrative unit affected. If an employee serving in a position which is classified under said chapter 31 or in which an employee has tenure by reason of said section 9A of said chapter 30 shall be appointed to a position within this office which is not subject to the provisions of said chapter 31, the employee shall upon termination of his service in such position be restored to the position which he held immediately prior to such appointment; provided, however, that his service in such position shall be determined by the civil service commission in accordance with the standards applied by said commission in administering said chapter 31. Such restoration shall be made without impairment of his civil service status or tenure under said section 9A of said chapter 30 and without loss of seniority, retirement or other rights to which uninterrupted service in such prior position would have entitled him. During the period of such appointment, each person so appointed from a position in the classified civil service shall be eligible to take any competitive promotional examination for which he would otherwise have been eligible.