File – In this Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, Kevin Clinton, director of [auth] the Michigan Department of Insurance addresses a news conference in Lansing, Mich. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, that Clinton will be the next state treasurer. (AP Photo/MLive.com, Brian Smith, File)
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder moved quickly Tuesday to name the next state treasurer, choosing to elevate someone already in his Cabinet to the job overseeing tax collections, state retirement funds and the financial health of local governments and schools.
Kevin Clinton, director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, will start as treasurer on Nov. 1. His chief deputy, Ann Flood, will take over then as chief of the insurance agency.
Treasurer Andy Dillon announced his resignation on Friday, citing an acrimonious divorce that had drawn attention from the media.
“We have two outstanding individuals to take new roles within the administration,” the Republican governor said during a news conference at his Lansing office.
Clinton, 58, has led the insurance department since March and before that headed the old Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation since 2011. Before joining state government, he was an executive at three insurance companies.
Dillon had a higher-profile role than recent treasurers because of the state’s more aggressive intervention in Detroit and other deficit-ridden cities and school districts since the recession.
Clinton, an actuary by training, said he plans to help create a modeling system to predict years in advance if local governments and K-12 districts could be in financial trouble.
“We’d like to stop any type of need for an emergency manager,” he said. “If you can predict this out five years and say, ‘You’re doing fine right now but five years from now you might run into trouble.’ It gives the municipality or school system time to deal with it.”
Clinton acknowledged needing to do a “considerable” amount of homework on Detroit’s bankruptcy filing and said he is grateful Dillon is staying on for three weeks to help with the transition. He said he does not lack the people skills required to deal with various stakeholders in the broke city and others where local elected officials have little to no power.
Flood, 54, has been responsible for the insurance agency’s offices of general counsel, insurance evaluation, rates and forms, budget, information technology and human resources. She also is a former insurance company executive.
Flood said she wants to put an emphasis on economic development, prodding the regulatory agency to also help bring new insurance and financial services jobs to Michigan. The state has a limited role in the federally run health insurance marketplace that started Oct. 1 under the health care law and has been plagued with glitches.
“We actually do not have any confirmation of anyone signing up on the exchange,” said Flood, who urged residents to use the state’s online premium estimator or call center. “We have heard that a couple of (insurance) carriers have been able to have their staff get on. … We’ve done all we can as a state, but the federal exchange is a federal exchange. We’re in the dark as far as what the numbers are as well.”
Clinton, who has a bachelor’s in business administration and master’s in actuarial science from the University of Michigan, will make the same as Dillon, $174,204 a year. Flood, a registered nurse, has a nursing degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University. She will be paid what Clinton was earning, $145,000.
This is the fourth Cabinet shake-up in Snyder’s nearly three years in office.
A year ago, he appointed a new leader of the Office of the Great Lakes after the old chief left to pursue other opportunities.
In August 2012, the Department of Community Health director stepped down and was replaced with a former department director under Gov. John Engler. In June 2012, Snyder moved the Agriculture Department director to head the Department of Natural Resources and elevated an environmental quality official into the agriculture role.