Snyder’s budget director departing in February

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder’s state budget director plans to leave the administration in February for a job in the private sector after helping the governor present a 2018 fiscal year spending plan to lawmakers.

John Roberts will step down from the post he has held since March 2014 for a position at an undisclosed company, Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said Thursday.

“John Roberts has been an outstanding budget director who has shown a steadfast dedication and determination to ensuring the state budget is fiscally sound, truly balanced and completed well ahead of schedule,” Snyder said Thursday in a statement.

Kurt Weiss, spokesman for the state budget office, said Roberts’ private-sector job is not being disclosed until his new employer is ready to announce the hire.

Contrary to rumors in Lansing, Weiss said, Roberts is not going to work for President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

“He’s going to the private sector, staying in Michigan,” he said.

Roberts succeeded John Nixon as Snyder’s budget director in early 2014 after spending three years as the governor’s deputy chief of staff.

Nixon left the Snyder administration to become chief business officer at the University of Utah.

In a statement, Roberts touted his work on Detroit’s bankruptcy restructuring plan and a long-term plan to spend $1.2 billion more annually repairing Michigan roads and bridges.

“I take great pride in knowing that we have worked together to make Michigan a better place,” said Roberts, who previously worked in the Michigan House of Representatives and former President George W. Bush’s administration.

Roberts agreed to stay through the governor’s annual budget presentation to the Legislature, which usually occurs in the first or second week in February.

“I now have the difficult task of finding a new budget director and although that process is underway, it is unlikely any decisions will be made until early next year,” Snyder said.

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Twitter: @ChadLivengood