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Governor names John Roberts budget director, David Behen head of DTMB

John Nixon stepping down; Beth Clement named Snyder’s deputy chief of staff

Feb. 13, 2014

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that Deputy Chief of Staff John Roberts will become state budget director on March 1. He replaces John Nixon, who is stepping down to become the chief business officer at the University of Utah. John Roberts

Snyder also announced the appointment of David Behen, the state’s chief information officer, as director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB). Behen will retain the duties of CIO in his new role.

In addition, Beth Clement, deputy legal counsel in the Executive Office, has been appointed to replace Roberts as deputy chief of staff. 

The appointments of Behen and Clement are effective March 1 as well.

Snyder said the restructuring will further enhance customer service through greater efficiency.

“Our drive to provide customers in every corner of Michigan with the best possible service continues,” Snyder said. “John Roberts brings a wealth of skills to the Budget Office that will help us achieve our good-government goals. David Behen has earned a national reputation for his excellence in government technology and is a great fit for these new responsibilities. Beth Clement is a respected legal professional who will greatly complement our Executive Office leadership team. The fact that we are able to tap such highly qualified candidates from within our team speaks to the depth of talent across our administration. I appreciate their willingness to take on these exciting new responsibilities.”

Snyder also acknowledged Nixon’s outstanding work during the past three years.

“John Nixon’s impact on Michigan’s comeback is immeasurable,” Snyder said. “He played a key role in restoring Michigan’s fiscal accountability. He’s been a trusted adviser, an outstanding director and a true professional. We wish John and his family all the best as they return to Utah.”

Nixon has served as budget director and head of DTMB since Snyder took office.

“When I was recruited for the job as state budget director over three years ago, I was asked if I wanted to be part of the biggest state turnaround in history,” said Nixon. “It’s been a privilege to be a part of it and I am proud of what we have accomplished in such a short time. This decision to leave was not easy, but I know Michigan’s turnaround will continue at full speed.”

Roberts has served as Snyder’s deputy chief of staff since July 2011. He previously served as policy director for the Michigan House Republican Caucus, where he oversaw the office responsible for analyzing legislation, developing policy and advising lawmakers on policy issues. Roberts also served in numerous roles within the administration of President George W. Bush. He served as special assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs, where he was the principal federal liaison to state legislators across the nation and other government officials. He also served as liaison to the nation’s statewide office holders, served in the federal Office of Management and Budget, and planned logistics for presidential travel. Roberts received both his bachelor’s degree in economics and MBA from Michigan State University.

David BehenBehen became the state’s chief information officer in January 2011. He has advised the governor on technology investments and implementing innovative information technology programs to enhance and expand customer service to meet the growing needs of Michigan’s citizens. Under Behen’s leadership, DTMB was a recipient of the 2013 CIO 100 Award from CIO magazine. In 2013, Behen received the Merit Network Award for innovation in networking and information technology, and Government Technology magazine named Behen to its top-25 list of IT doers, dreamers and drivers. In 2012, Behen was chosen as the first winner of Crain's Detroit Business CIO Awards in the government category.

Before joining Snyder’s administration, Behen was CIO and deputy administrator of Washtenaw County. He also cofounded a software company and served as vice president and CIO of its parent corporation. Behen earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in public administration from Eastern Michigan University.

Beth ClementClement has served as a legal adviser to Snyder since 2011, specializing in issues such as emergency management, criminal justice, judicial appointments, labor and public safety. She previously worked in the Senate Majority Policy Office, as an attorney at Clement Law PLLC, and as legal counsel in the Senate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University and a degree from the MSU College of Law.

Behen’s appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the state Senate.