The head of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget team is leaving state government to become the chief financial officer at Wayne State University.
Dave Massaron’s resignation as state budget director comes less than one year after he joined the administration. Although the announcement of his departure comes before the governor and lawmakers have finalized a budget, Whitmer said he will stay with the administration through the end of the fiscal year in September.
“Dave Massaron has been an instrumental partner in the progress we have made for Michigan families,” Whitmer said in a release. “Thanks to Dave’s leadership, we continued to put Michiganders first and worked across the aisle with the Legislature to make several game-changing investments, including the largest education investment in state history, without raising taxes.”
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Whitmer also announced that Susan Corbin will serve as the permanent director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. She had served as the department’s acting director since October.
Before joining the Whitmer administration in December, Massaron worked as chief financial officer with the city of Detroit. At the time, Whitmer said Massaron was uniquely qualified and would use the position to help the state recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Battles with lawmakers over how to spend federal coronavirus aid plagued Massaron and the Whitmer administration.
Although Congress, under former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, allocated billions of dollars in relief to Michigan, the Republican-controlled Legislature initially balked at distributing huge portions of that funding.
Instead, the Legislature tied funding to bills that aimed to strip away pandemic powers from the governor’s office. Whitmer vetoed the bills as expected, but the legislative move and her action delayed allocating more than $1 billion in assistance.
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At one point, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, said in a letter to Massaron that there would be no negotiating on pandemic relief funds until the governor agreed to a compromise on her emergency powers.
“The governor’s refusal to allow the people of Michigan a voice in the decisions that affect their daily lives is simply unacceptable,” Albert wrote in the March letter.
“The same reasons you argue in your letter for why our state would be best served by a collaborative, joint approach to funding decisions apply with even greater force to the public policy decisions surrounding this pandemic.”
Lawmakers eventually worked with Massaron and the administration, allocating more than $6.6 billion in federal relief.
Despite agreeing to this measure and a massive education funding bill, lawmakers and the administration have not agreed on an overall budget. Lawmakers passed a measure in 2019 indicating the budget needed to be completed by July 1, but there are no ramifications for missing the deadline.
Contact Dave Boucher: firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.