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Gov.-Elect Whitmer Appoints More Cabinet Members

Whitmer's cabinet continues to take shape.

December 28, 2018 - 4:32 pm

LANSING, Mich. (WWJ) -- Michigan Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer continued making appointments to her administration Friday, as she named the director of one state department and announced three other interim directors.

While Whitmer's cabinet continues to take shape, she will take office without a permanent director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Farah Hanley, who is currently deputy director of MDHHS, will step in to serve as acting director until Whitmer names a new permanent director. That announcement is expected to come in mid-January.

The department has received heavy criticism and scrutiny over the last year in relation to the Flint Water Crisis. The outgoing director, Nick Lyon, was ordered to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the handling of the crisis.

Tricia Foster was appointed as the director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Foster, who is coming out of retirement to fill the post, worked for 23 years at commercial real estate firms, and served on Whitmer's campaign.

Stephanie Beckhorn, the current director of the Workforce Development Agency, will serve as acting director at the Department of Talent and Economic Development.

Judy Weaver, senior deputy director at the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, will serve as acting director of that department until Jan. 14, when Anita Fox takes over. Fox was one of a number of permanent appointments Whitmer made to her administration Thursday.

Among those appointed to permanent posts on Thursday is Paul Ajegba, who will serve as the new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. The Ann Arbor resident has worked with MDOT for nearly 30 years.

Another key appointment made Thursday was that of Liesl Eichler Clark as director of the Department of Environmental Quality. Clark, of Howell, is co-founder of the consulting firm 5 Lakes Energy. She was previously president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and was a director with the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth.

Ajegba and Clark both figure to be key members of Whitmer's administration, working on some of Whitmer's biggest priorities -- the environment and fixing the roads.

Whitmer will be sworn in as the state's 49th governor at noon on Tuesday outside the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing.