Nessel axed $1.6M in executive staff from Schuette era

    mennan williams
    Attorney General building, March 22, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

    Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel has eliminated 12 executive office positions that existed under her predecessor, Republican Bill Schuette.

    Those positions totaled $1.595 million in salary and benefits, the AG’s office said. Nessel said at a small media roundtable last month that her department axed some “political” positions, which helped fund new initiatives, including a hate crimes unit and the Conviction Integrity Unit. Funds also go to the auto insurance fraud unit.

    Bill Schuette (left) and Dana Nessel (right)

    “We haven’t spend one dime in addition to the money that was already coming in through general funds to this office,” Nessel said in that interview.

    Nessel said the department used the savings from clipping executive staff to hire attorneys and investigators.

    “I wanted this to be, let me say, non-political — purely what I believe the functions of the office of attorney general should be,” she said.

    The Advance asked for details on the positions eliminated and the attorney general’s office on Friday released this breakdown:

    • Assistant director of legislative affairs
    • Director of crime victim advocacy
    • Manager of constituent relations
    • Five constituent representatives
    • Policy advisor
    • Senior advisor
    • Former director of communications (a separate position from the actual director)
    • Departmental analyst
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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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