* Check below for updates as new appointees are named
As Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin takes control of government, he's bringing with him a long list of new appointees to key posts. Examining his choices might offer clues into how that team will govern.
Let's start with gender balance.
Of Shumlin's 26 appointments to date, half have been women — and eight of those replaced men. That means a net gain of eight women in key leadership posts in Vermont government.
It's also rumored that Shumlin wants to appoint a woman to be the next treasurer, since Treasurer-elect Jeb Spaulding has opted to resign from office in January to become Shumlin's secretary of administration.
With Secretary of State Deb Markowitz leaving elective office to become Shumlin's secretary at the Agency of Natural Resources, it leaves a gender void among statewide elected officials. Markowitz has been one of the the highest-profile women in statewide elective office in the past decade.
A number of commissioner and deputy slots are not filled yet, so it's not clear yet what final gender scorecard will be, noted Alex MacLean, Shumlin's former campaign manager and designee to be the next Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs.
The key inner circle of staffers on the "fifth floor" — where the executive office is locted in the Pavilion Building in Montpelier — is practically all women, MacLean added. The only two Y chromosome-configured folks on the executive staff are the governor-elect and his chief of staff Bill Lofy.
This isn't to say that outgoing Gov. Jim Douglas never appointed women to top posts, because he did. His first cabinet included two women as agency secretaries: Elizabeth "Wibs" McLain at the Agency of Natural Resources and Pat McDonald at the Agency of Transportation. Other top women appointed to his inner circle were Betsy Bishop, as deputy chief of staff, and Susanne Young as his chief legal counsel.
The largest group of appointees to Shumlin's administration, other than women, have been former, current or outgoing lawmakers.
As with any administration, Shumlin has also appointed a few lobbyists.
The highest-profile lobbyist appointee is Steve Kimbell, formerly of Kimbell, Sherman and Ellis. He'll be the incoming commissioner of the department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration. Kimbell's firm has represented Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and Rutland Regional Medical Center, two organizations Kimbell's office will now oversee and regulate.
David Yacavone will be commissioner at the Department of Children and Families. Yacavone is a former appointee of Gov. Howard Dean, and recently lobbied for the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. He also lost a bid for Lamoille County Senate.
Patricia Moulton-Powden, who will be the deputy secretary at the Agency of Commerce and Communty Development, is a former labor commissioner under Gov. Douglas. She left state employ to become vice president and a top lobbyist for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
Other lobbyists include Jennifer Hollar, who recently worked for Downs, Rachlin and Martin, and Beth Robinson, an attorney with Langrock, Sperry & Wool, who was the the lead strategist behind the victorious lobbying effort to pass both civil unions and later same-sex marriage. Hollar will be the deputy commissioner at the Department of Economic, Housing and Community Affairs while Robinson is Shumlin's chief legal counsel.
MacLean told Seven Days that each appointee has received a copy of Gov. Douglas' Code of Ethics — an executive order that Shumlin will issue as well once he is in office — that dictates what appointees can, and can't do while in office and for the first year after they leave public service. "Several have spoken at length with Beth Robinson about any potential conflicts," she added.*
Shumlin, a former House member and Senate leader, has appointed a few current, former and outgoing lawmakers to key posts: Outgoing Rep. Megan Smith (D-Killington) will be commissioner of tourism and marketing; current Rep. Sue Minter (D-Waterbury) will be the deputy secretary at the Agency of Transportation; former Rep. Mary Petersen (D-Williston) will be the commissioner of the Department of Taxes; former Rep. Harry Chen (D-Killington) will be health commissioner; outgoing Sen. Susan Bartlett (D-Lamoille) will be a special assistant to the governor; former Sen. Doug Racine (D-Chittenden) will be secretary of the Agency of Human Services; and, former Sen. Rob Ide (R-Caledonia) will stay on as motor vehicles commissioner.
Despite touting his experience in the private sector, Shumlin has largely looked to a mix of people with governmental and lobbying experience. The only two with close-to-pure "private sector" experience have been Lawrence Miller as secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and Elizabeth Miller as the commissioner of the Department of Public Service. Lawrence Miller was the founder of Otter Creek Brewing and has chaired the Vermont Economic Progress Council, a group that oversees the state's tax incentives program. He now works at Danforth Pewter. Elizabeth Miller is a Burlington attorney who also sits on the boards of LocalMotion and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Below is the rundown of Shumlin's appointments, chronologically. I've grouped together the names as they were appointed. In some cases, he annouced several appointments at once — his "jobs" team or his "health care" team or his "transportation" team. I'll add more names as they are announced.
Download a spreadsheet of all gubernatorial appointments and keep score at home! Download Gov_Appointees
Alex MacLean: Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs
Jeb Spaulding: Secretary of the Agency of Administration
Bill Lofy: Chief of Staff
Susan Bartlett: Special Assistant
Beth Robinson: Chief Legal Counsel
Lawrence Miller: Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) ($109,000)
Patricia Moulton-Powden: Deputy Secretary of ACCD ($98,000)
Chuck Ross: Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture ($109,000)
Annie Noonan: Commissioner of the Department of Labor ($94,000)
Jim Reardon: reappointed as Commissioner of the Department of Finance and Management (retained)
Brian Searles: Secretary of the Agency of Transportation (AOT) ($115,000)
Sue Minter: Deputy Secretary of AOT ($85,000)
Doug Racine: Secretary of the Agency of Human Services (AHS) ($115,000)
Patrick Flood: Deputy Secretary of AHS (retained) ($93,000)
David Yacavone: Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families ($100,000)
Deb Markowitz: Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources ($109,000)
David Mears: Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation ($85,000)
Mary Peterson: Commissioner of the Department of Taxes ($85,000)
Kate Duffy: Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources ($82,000)
Robert Ide: Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles (retained) ($91,000)
Steve Kimbell: Commissioner of BISHCA ($127,000)
Harry Chen: Commissioner of the Department of Health ($115,000)
Susan Besio: reappointed as Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access ($100,714)
Anya Rader Wallack: special assistant to the governor with a focus on health care reform ($125,000)
Susan Allen: special assistant to the governor with a focus on policy work and communications strategies ($60,000)
Bianca Slota: press secretary ($45,000)
Keith Flynn: Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety ($90,000)
Elizabeth Miller: Commissioner of the Department of Public Service ($96,000)
Megan Smith: Commissioner of the Department of Tourism and Marketing ($79,000)
Noelle Mackay: Commissioner of the Department of Economic, Housing and Community Affairs ($82,000)
Jenn Hollar: Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic, Housing and Community Affairs ($72,000)
* Updated Dec. 20
Beth Pearce: State Treasurer (?)
Michael Clasen: Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Administration (?)
* Updated Dec. 22
Pat Berry: Commissioner of the Department of Fish & Wildlife ($88,000)
Kim Royer: Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Fish & Wildlife ($72,000)
* Updated Dec. 23
Christine Oliver: Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health ($99,000)
Andy Pallito: Commissioner of the Department of Corrections (retained)
* Updated Jan. 3 (the following appointments were made between Dec. 23-Dec. 30)
Michael Obuchowski: Commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services ($89,000)
Michael O'Neill: Director of the Division of Vermont Emergency Management ($80,000)
Chris Recchia: Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources ($95,000)
Michael Snyder: Commissioner of the Department of Forest, Parks & Recreation ($88,000)
Justin Johnson: Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (?)
Jon Groveman: General Counsel, Agency of Natural Resources (?)
* Updated Jan. 4
Harold (Hal) Colston: Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on National and Community Service ($65,000)
Susan Spaulding: Director of Constituent Services and Appointments ($49,000)
Lisa Kunin: Executive Assistant to the Governor ($32,000)
Aly Richards: Assistant to the Chief of Staff ($38,000)
Ryan Emerson: Constituent Correspondent ($30,000)
Ariel Wengroff: Constituent Correspondent ($30,000)
* Updated Jan. 5
Susan Wehry: Commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living ($115,000)
Download the list of positions in state government appointed by the governor: Download Gov_Appointees
* This paragraph was inadvertantly omitted from the original post by the author.
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