Snyder appoints senior officials to five Michigan university boards

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley speaks to the media at his election night press conference in West Bloomfield, Michigan on August 7, 2018.

Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed six current and former senior state officials to boards at Michigan’s five universities, including Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Snyder’s former chief of staff Dennis Muchmore and Snyder’s senior adviser Richard Baird.

The governor appoints qualified individuals to boards and commissions with "a professional background or a special interest" in areas pertinent to the responsibilities associated with the role, said Snyder spokeswoman Jordan Kennedy. 

"If the governor appoints someone to a position, he feels confident they will do a good job representing all Michiganders as a voice on a board or commission," Kennedy said in a Friday statement. "He appreciates the commitment appointees are making and that so many people step forward to offer their names for consideration."

Unlike Michigan's top three universities whose boards are elected through a statewide vote, the state's other public university boards are appointed by the governor.

The positions are unpaid and mostly go into effect at the end of the year, Kennedy said. 

Most of Friday's appointees will serve eight-year terms at the universities, where they will be tasked with approving the university's budget and tuition rates as well as picking the universities' presidents,. 

Calley was appointed to the Oakland University board of control along with Dennis Muchmore, Snyder’s former chief of staff who is now lobbying for a federal detention center in Ionia. Baird was appointed to the Eastern Michigan University Board of Trustees.

Snyder also appointed his deputy chief of staff, Elizabeth Emmitt, to the Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees. The governor's chief legal counsel, Travis Weber, was tapped for the Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees.

Shelly Edgerton, director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, was appointed to the Western Michigan University board of control along with David Behen, the former director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget who now works at La-Z-Boy.

Two members of lobbying firm Governmental Consultant Services, Inc., Steven Young and Michael Hawks, were appointed and reappointed to the NMU and EMU, respectively. 

Sue Jandernoa, wife of GOP donor Mike Jandernoa, was appointed to the Grand Valley State University board of trustees.

(517) 371-3661