Dorn Proposes Merging Departments of Economic Development and Housing & Community Affairs


MONTPELIER, Vt. – November 18, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) – In a move designed to boost effectiveness and save money, the Douglas administration is proposing to merge the Departments of Economic Development and Housing and Community Affairs.

The move would create a single Department of Economic and Community Development according to Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn, whose agency includes both departments as well as the Department of Tourism and Marketing, and the Division for Historic Preservation.


“This consolidation will result in a more integrated and coordinated effort to retain and expand Vermont’s employment opportunities, invest in communities, foster economic vitality and build housing that working Vermonters can afford,” Dorn said. “In a time of shrinking revenues, state government must use innovation and technology to do more with less.”


The move will result in the elimination of one commissioner’s position and accompanying savings, but is not expected to require any additional staffing changes.


Dorn also announced that Betsy Bishop, who is currently serving as Governor Jim Douglas’ Deputy Chief of Staff, will be appointed Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and will lead the initiative to streamline the two departments into one. She replaces Mike Quinn, who stepped down after serving six years in the position.


Dorn said Bishop’s experience in the private sector; familiarity with policy issues; and her relationship with legislators will be crucial in advancing the merger and other critical economic development issues.


“Betsy will work with me to pass the Governor’s 7-point economic growth plan in the first 100 days of the legislative session and spearhead our proposal to merge the housing and economic development departments,” Dorn said. “Her experience will be a valuable asset to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.”


Bishop has worked for Douglas since his election in 2002, beginning with his transition team and leading his policy and legislative team for six years.


Prior to joining the Governor’s staff, Bishop advocated for businesses in the state, federal and regulatory arenas.


“Betsy’s ability to successfully lead and manage many complex issues while working with diverse interests will benefit the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and help to ensure that Vermont acts quickly to pass an economic plan that grows our economy, creates jobs and helps struggling families,” Douglas said.


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