Whitmer fills top posts, but health director hire looms

Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News
Tricia L. Foster, CPM, ACoM has been named director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget

Lansing — Michigan Democratic Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer continued rounding out her incoming administration Friday, naming a new director for one state department and interim leaders for three others.  

Whitmer will take office Jan. 1 without a permanent leader in the massive Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  Instead, her transition team said she intends to fill the post by the second week of January.

Farah Hanley, the deputy director for financial operations, will step in as acting director for the department, which remains under scrutiny for its response to the Flint water contamination crisis. Outgoing director Nick Lyon, an appointee of term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, was ordered to stand trial on a related involuntary manslaughter charge.

Tricia Foster, who served as treasurer on Whitmer's gubernatorial campaign after working as a senior executive at a real estate services an investment firm, will serve as the next director for the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, Whitmer announced.

Foster spent 23 years at CBRB/Martin and CRBE/Grand Rapids, capping her private sector career as a senior managing director and chief operating officer at the firm. She joined Whitmer's campaign in early 2017.

“Trish has vast leadership experience and a deep commitment to public service,” Whitmer said in a statement. “She will provide the guidance needed to ensure our state government is responsive and adaptive to the needs of our residents.” 

Stephanie Beckhorn, who is currently director of the state Workforce Development Agency, will serve as acting director at the Department of Talent and Economic Development. She’ll provide “leadership and guidance that will be critical” until a permanent director “can be named,” Whitmer said.

Judy Weaver, senior deputy director at the Department of Insurance and Financial Services, will serve as acting director until Jan. 14, when Anita Fox will take over.

Fox was among a handful of permanent appointments Whitmer announced Thursday, including key picks at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Transportation.

Whitmer will be sworn in at noon Tuesday outside the Michigan Capitol. She will be the state's 49th governor.