Governor-elect Mike DeWine announced a few more cabinet and high-level staff positions Thursday, but several positions remain unfilled.
New directors for a number of state agencies were nominated including the Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
At prior news conferences, DeWine announced Alisha Nelson as his pick to coordinate the state’s efforts in battling the ongoing opioid epidemic and Ohio National Guard Major General John Harris to oversee Ohio’s Army and Air National Guard units.
For the most part, DeWine has drawn on a familiar pool of candidates to fill many of his initial appointments. Many are current or former employees of the Attorney General’s Office or have worked with DeWine before.
DeWine says there is a good reason for that.
“If you look at the people that I have surrounded myself with throughout my career, they have always been, or I’ve tried to have, and I think I’ve succeeded, people who are tough, strong, not afraid to tell me when they think I’m wrong,” said DeWine.
DeWine announced on Thursday he is looking to someone who’s worked with his Lt. Governor Jon Husted for the past few years in the Secretary of State’s Office and tapped Matthew Damschroder to head the embattled Department of Administrative Services.
The department has been wracked with a number of scandals recently.
“That certainly will not be tolerated. This is an important position,” said DeWine. “This is a position where we’re aware of some of the different things that have been brought out.”
DeWine also announced his nomination of the first female director for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Annette Chambers-Smith.
“I made it clear to her that the first priority of any governor should be the protection of the people of the state of Ohio,” DeWine said.
Chambers-Smith has worked at the ODRC before.
She spent more than two decades with the agency, most recently as deputy director in the Office of Administration where she created more efficiency, reduced staff resource needs, and cut millions in waste from the operating budget.
DeWine announced several other appointments Thursday, some of which will behigh-levell staffers like Ryan Burgess, who will be his director of Cabinet Affairs, Michael Hall who will act as his director of Policy, and Dan McCarthy, who will be his director of Legislative Affairs.
McCarthy most recently was the President of The Success Group, as well as a former legislative staffer in the Ohio House of Representatives. The Success Group provided campaign donations to both Republicans and Democrats over the past two years.
DeWine still has more than a dozen other cabinet positions to appoint including agriculture, natural resources, the Ohio EPA, health, mental health, insurance and transportation to name a few.
DeWine and Husted will be sworn into office in less than two weeks.