Michigan's state budget director stepping down for UM job

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Chris Kolb, Michigan's state budget director, is leaving his government post to become vice president for government relations at the University of Michigan, officials announced Friday.

Kolb is the second person to leave the governor's budget office this month following Kyle Jen's departure to serve as budget director for Oakland County Executive David Coulter's administration.

State Budget Director Chris Kolb

"The university has been a part of my life from my first breath, my education, and throughout my entire personal and professional life," Kolb said in a statement. "I look forward to working with the president, the executive team, and the Board of Regents to represent the university in this position."

Kolb will start his five-year appointment on Jan. 19. He replaces Cynthia Wilbanks, who is retiring after 22 years as vice president.

The UM graduate will report to University President Mark Schlissel. He is responsible for leading the strategic vision and management of the university's government relations programs at the local, state and federal levels, the university said.

"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Kolb as the vice president for government relations at the University of Michigan," Schlissel said in a statement. "Chris has embraced public service throughout his career, with extensive experience in state and local government, public policy and community relations."

Kolb has served on Whitmer's team since January 2019 and oversaw the state's $60 billion budget.

He has more than 20 years of experience in public service in government and nonprofit sectors, including three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives. He was previously appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to co-chair of Flint Water Advisory Task Force in 2015.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_