MI Senate rejects governor's department reorganization plan

LANSING, MI – The Republican-controlled state Senate has voted to reject Governor Granholm's plans to directly appoint two more state department directors. Many lawmakers want that authority to remain with independent commissions that currently govern the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources. They say allowing the governor to name the directors will open the door to political meddling in agricultural affairs and wildlife management.

But Democratic state Senator Jim Barcia defended the governor's plan.

"Allowing the governor to directly appoint the directors of the Department of Agriculture and the new Department of Natural Resources and Environment will ensure that the directors of these agencies are accountable to the state's top elected official rather than to a commission that has no direct relationship with the voters of Michigan," he says.

The governor's order also folds together the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Quality. The order will stand unless the Senate action is also ratified by the Democrat-led state House.