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Governor Granholm Issues EO on Agriculture, DNR; Recommits to Gubernatorial Appointment of Directors

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

State of Michigan Flag December 1, 2009
 
Clarifies authority of Agriculture, Natural Resources commissions
 
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today issued a new executive order that impacts the establishment of the new Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Michigan Department of Agriculture.  Executive Order 2009-54 modifies the impact of Executive Order 2009-45 issued on October 8 and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the Agriculture and Natural Resources commissions.  
 
Unchanged in the reorganization plan is the gubernatorial appointment of the department directors to ensure accountability to a statewide elected official who, in turn, is directly accountable to the people of the state.   
 
However, the executive order returns specific statutory decision-making authority to the Agriculture Commission.  Specifically, Executive Order 2009-54 makes the following changes to the Agriculture Commission and the Department of Agriculture by:
 
-  ensuring that Agriculture commissioners have no conflict of interest and that they cannot use their position to further their private lives (this requirement also was applied to the Natural Resources Commission);
 
-  requiring that the chair of the Agriculture Commission rotate on a yearly basis as, until recently, has been the practice of the commission;
 
-  prohibiting the director of the Department of Agriculture from holding outside business interests that conflict with his/her position as director.
 
-  requiring Agriculture commissioners to be knowledgeable about modern agriculture and food systems;
 
-  giving the Agriculture Commission the ability to conduct an annual performance review of the director and send the results of that review to the governor.  The commission may also recommend to the governor when they believe that director should be removed from office.
 
The Natural Resources Commission will continue to exercise policy-making authority relating to the taking of fish and wildlife based on sound, scientific management principals.  Because the Natural Resources Commission and the Agriculture Commission deal with so many similar issues, e.g. chronic-wasting disease, baiting of deer, and health issues related to domestic and wild animals, the executive order provides that there will be a shared seat on both commissions.
 
Executive Order 2009-54 also clarifies several aspects related to the new Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, including:
 
-  The membership of the new Trail Advisory Council, now named the Snowmobile and Trails Advisory Council, is increased and several appointments are reserved for snowmobilers and those who pay for their trail activities.
 
-  The Agricultural Preservation Fund board also is restored under the executive order. 
 
The executive order stands unless disapproved by the Legislature within 60 days.
 
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