Whitmer announces last appointments before inauguration

Gretchen Whitmer | Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan photo, Wikimedia Commons

Incoming Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today announced her final round of appointments to state-level agencies.

Clare Liening, a spokeswoman for the Whitmer transition, told the Advance that there would be no further appointment announcements before the inauguration on Tuesday.

Tricia Foster

Whitmer has tapped Tricia Foster, who served as treasurer for the Whitmer campaign, to direct the Department of Technology Management and Budget (DTMB). Foster retired in 2016 after more than 20 years in an executive role at CBRE Martin, a real estate services and investment firm.

“Trish has vast leadership experience and a deep commitment to public service,” Whitmer said in a statement. “She will provide the guidance needed to ensure our state government is responsive and adaptive to the needs of our residents.”

Whitmer also appointed acting directors for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Talent and Economic Development (TED), according to a statement from the transition.

Farah Hanley, currently a deputy director for finance operations at DHHS, will take over as acting director of the massive organization until a permanent director is named, likely sometime next month, according to the statement.

Whitmer had reportedly floated the idea of breaking up the 14,000 employee department before deciding against it, saying that the new director will “inspire confidence.”

Stephanie Beckhorn, who has a background in workforce development, will serve as acting director of TED.

Farah Hanley

Today’s appointments come after a slew of announcements on Thursday, which made up the bulk of Whitmer’s future cabinet. That included one holdover from the Snyder administration, Heidi Washington, who will continue to run the state’s Department of Corrections. Paul Ajegba was named Michigan Department of Transportation director and Liesl Eichler Clark will head up the Department of Environmental Quality.

On Dec. 21, Whitmer announced her first appointments, including State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks, Budget Director Chris Kolb, Chief of Staff JoAnne Huls and Chief Strategist Mark Burton.

“We have been working diligently to get a strong cabinet in place and now we are ready to get to work for the people of Michigan,” said Whitmer. “This Cabinet builds on a foundation of immense expertise and a dedication to public service that will guide our efforts to improve the lives of the people of this state each and every day.”

Nick Manes
Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.

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