Governor Phil Scott has announced a handful of new appointments and promotions in the Agency of Administration, Agency of Human Services and on his senior staff.
Kristin Clouser, deputy secretary, Agency of Administration
Kristin Clouser will serve has deputy secretary of the Agency of Administration. Clouser first joined the Secretary’s Office in June as chief of operations after serving in the Attorney General’s Office where she was chief of the Human Services Legal Division and general counsel to the secretary of the Agency of Human Services.
In her new role, Clouser will serve as a policy and operational lead on many agency and inter-agency priorities, including development of the State’s capital spending bill, contracts and procurement, risk management and insurance, and other key policy issues that impact state government.
“Kristin is a proven problem-solver and a steady, focused leader,” Governor Scott said. “Her experience, insight and results-driven approach will be a valuable contribution to our team and to State agencies and departments managing regular responsibilities and new challenges presented by the pandemic.”
Douglas Farnham, chief of operations, Agency of Administration
Douglas Farnham has been appointed chief of operations in the Secretary of Administration’s Office.
After seven years of military service, Farnham first joined the Vermont Department of Taxes in 2011 where he served in several roles, including deputy commissioner, policy director and economist, and director of property valuation and review. Farnham will now have primary responsibility for the eligibility assessments, accounting and audit framework required for the roughly $2 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds provided by the federal government. In addition, Farnham will work closely with Vermont Emergency Management, state agencies that receive or administer grants and independent grant recipients outside of state government to maximize the value of every dollar directed to emergency response and economic recovery.
“Doug’s analytical skills, paired with an ability to explain complex policy simply and clearly, make him the right person for this critical work,” the Governor said. “He will play an important role in making sure we get the most value out of every dollar we deploy in our emergency response and the critically important economic recovery that is now underway.”
Rebecca Sameroff, deputy commissioner, Department of Taxes in the Agency of Administration
Rebecca Sameroff, formerly the chief fiscal analyst, at the Vermont Department of Taxes has returned to the Department as the deputy commissioner. Sameroff will be focused on legislative initiatives, policy development, and analytical work. In her former role as Chief Analyst for the Tax Department, Sameroff’s work included supervision of the division responsible for policy analysis, revenue forecasting and analysis of the administrative impact and revenue implications of proposed policy changes, including distributional impacts on Vermont taxpayers.
“The State is fortunate to have Rebecca return to the Department,” the Governor said. “With her tax policy knowledge and experience in analyzing and understanding the implications of change, we will be able to produce better policy – and most importantly, better results – for the taxpayers of Vermont.”
Jennifer Fitch, commissioner, Department of Buildings and General Services in the Agency of Administration
Jennifer Fitch has been appointed commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS). She has served as acting commissioner since August 2020 and previously as deputy commissioner since January 2017. In this role, Fitch will manage daily operations of over 340 employees statewide, lead strategic planning and training efforts and guide the Department’s response to the ongoing pandemic. Prior to joining BGS, Fitch worked as a project manager for the Agency of Transportation where she managed bridge and culvert rehabilitation and replacement. She is a civil engineer.
“In addition to knowing the department well, Jennifer brings structured and strategic leadership, and the project-based experience of an engineer to her new role within BGS and I am pleased to appoint her commissioner,” Governor Scott said.
Marc O’Grady, deputy commissioner, Department of Buildings & General Services in the Agency of Administration
Marc O’Grady will serve as deputy commissioner of BGS. O’Grady has served as the director of planning and property management since January 2018. In that role, he was responsible for capital planning, budgeting, programming and space planning for approximately three million square feet of state-owned space and approximately 120 leases. Prior to joining BGS, Marc was the right-of-way appraisal chief for the Agency of Transportation and was the owner/partner in several appraisal firms spanning the course of more than 10 years.
“I’m pleased that Marc has agreed to bring his specialized expertise and commonsense to the deputy commissioner role at BGS, rounding out an excellent leadership team at the Department,” the Governor added.
Ethan Latour has been appointed deputy commissioner of the Department of Finance & Management. Latour previously served as the assistant director of policy and communications for Governor Scott. His primary responsibilities were as liaison to Vermont’s two largest agencies, the Agencies of Human Services and the Agency of Education where he served as the Governor’s point person on human services policy, program management and budgeting. This included a focus on healthcare payment reform, as well as early care and learning, preK-12 and higher education policy and funding. He also served as a spokesperson for the Governor. Latour has a degree in economics from St. Lawrence University.
“Ethan’s communication skills, knowledge of the key programs and major challenges facing Vermont, and his understanding of my vision and priorities will be a valuable asset to the Department of Finance and Management and the Agency of Administration,” the Governor said.
Tricia Tyo, deputy commissioner, Department of Children and Families in the Agency of Human Services
Tricia Tyo will serve as deputy commissioner of the Department for Children and Families (DCF) within the Agency of Human Services.
As deputy commissioner, Tyo will lead the Department’s financial benefits work. She has worked within DCF for many years, including 18 years in various roles within the Family Services Division before moving to the Economic Services Division in 2014 as director of the Reach Up program. In 2015, she was promoted to economic benefits director.
“Tricia has the experience and expertise needed to continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the important programs within the state’s economic benefits division,” the Governor said.
Jason Maulucci, press secretary, Office of the Governor
The Governor has appointed Jason Maulucci as press secretary. Maulucci previously coordinated the Governor’s Constituent Services Office and appointments to the State’s many boards and commissions. In the summer of 2020, he stepped down to manage the Governor’s reelection campaign.
In his role as press secretary, Maulucci will handle day-to-day media relations, coordination of the Governor’s twice-weekly COVID-19 media briefings and other press events and serve as the Governor’s spokesperson. He will work in coordination with Communications Director Rebecca Kelley. Maulucci will also serve as a member of the Governor’s senior policy staff with responsibility for working with several state agencies and departments.
Brittney Wilson, deputy chief of staff, Office of the Governor
Brittney Wilson has been promoted to deputy chief of staff. Wilson has served as secretary of Civil and Military Affairs since 2017, and will now manage several additional executive operations, such as the Constituent Services Office, appointments, and other office functions. She will continue to serve as the Governor’s liaison to several state agencies, departments and task forces. Wilson managed the Governor’s election campaigns in 2016 and 2018, and has previously worked in the State Auditor’s Office, Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Department of Libraries.