LANSING, MI, Feb. 23, 2011 – Governor Rick Snyder today announced the strategic reorganization of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth which will result in a sharper focus on its mission and better program coordination across state government.
The department’s new name will be the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, reflecting its leadership role in reinventing the state’s regulatory process and its increased licensing responsibilities. Recently appointed department director Steven Hilfinger joined Snyder in the announcement.
“Creating a climate of economic growth depends in large part on a simple, fair, efficient and transparent regulatory environment and a focused, efficient state government,” Snyder said. “Our new Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will help drive this change by having a more coherent and consistent approach to its mission. By consolidating its core functions under one roof and transferring responsibilities that were not compatible to the appropriate agencies, this streamlined department is better positioned to serve its customers while significantly contributing to our overall goal of fostering economic success. Director Steve Hilfinger’s background and expertise in the business and legal community will be invaluable as we move Michigan forward.”
The changes are implemented through Executive Orders 2011-4 and 2011-5 issued by the governor. Highlights of the reorganization include:
- Creating the Office of Regulatory Reinvention within the department. The office will help create a regulatory process and environment that is conducive to economic growth by reviewing current rules and regulations as well as proposed rulemaking and regulatory activities by departments and agencies.
- Creating the Michigan Administrative Hearing System as an independent agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The Administrative Hearing System will centralize the state’s administrative hearings functions.
- Transferring the Bureau of Health Professions, the Bureau of Health Systems and the Controlled Substances Advisory Commission from the Department of Community Health to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The transfer will allow Community Health to concentrate on the actual health care delivery aspects of its duties while allowing Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to oversee the licensing and professional regulatory aspects of these functions.
- Strengthening the Michigan Strategic Fund by transferring several energy functions into it, such as the Michigan Next Energy Authority. In addition, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Land Bank Fast Track are transferred to the Strategic Fund, which is within the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
- Creating the Workforce Development Agency within the Michigan Strategic Fund. Most functions of the Bureau of Workforce Transformation and the Council for Labor and Economic Growth are transferred to the Workforce Development Agency.
- Transferring the department’s Disability Concerns Commission, the Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Pacific American Affairs Commission and the Hispanic/Latino Commission to the Department of Civil Rights.
- Abolishing the position of Automobile and Home Insurance Consumer Advocate that was created in 2008.
- Abolishing the position of Chief Energy Officer that was established in 2008.
In addition to serving as department director, Hilfinger has been appointed director of the Office of Regulatory Reinvention and chief regulatory officer for the state of Michigan.
Hilfinger announced the appointments of Mike Zimmer as chief deputy director and Brian DeBano as a deputy director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Zimmer will also serve as director of the Michigan Administrative Hearing System.
Zimmer previously served as deputy director of the State Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules. He also served as director of the Bureau of Hearings in the former Department of Consumer and Industry Services; as an attorney in the Office of Regulatory Reform under former Governor John Engler; and worked for the Senate majority floor leader. A resident of Dimondale, Zimmer earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from George Washington University.
DeBano recently served as chief of staff and chief operating officer for the Michigan Department of State. In that capacity, he played an active role in streamlining the department’s licensing functions. Prior to that, DeBano served as the director of State Government Affairs for former Governor Engler and also worked in the Michigan House of Representatives. The Laingsburg resident has a bachelor’s degree from the James Madison College at Michigan State University and a master’s in public administration from Western Michigan University.