Gov. Mary Fallin, more than halfway through her first term and eyeing a second, is changing the makeup of her Cabinet.
The Republican governor announced two new secretaries Tuesday and realigned the advisory panel.
The governor named CareerTech Director Robert Sommers as the secretary of education and workforce development. She also named Deby Snodgrass, the executive director of the state Tourism and Recreation Department, to a new Cabinet post of secretary of tourism.
Cabinet secretaries are not paid for serving, according to the governor's office.
Fallin, in her third year as governor, made several changes to her Cabinet, consolidating some positions that she said would deliver better organizational structure or creating new ones to reflect her priorities.
Sommers succeeds Phyllis Hudecki, whose resignation took effect Monday, as secretary of education. Fallin included workforce development with the education secretary's duties to help ensure all students are given skills to find and keep high-skill, high-paying jobs.
Sommers, who in April became the seventh CareerTech director, had served as Ohio Gov. John Kasich's education policy adviser covering elementary through university education policy.
During his tenure, Ohio implemented changes to increase school performance transparency, teacher evaluation, school choice, digital education options and failing school transformation.
“Raising the bar in education and improving our workforce means supporting and implementing the reform efforts already enacted by the Legislature and being pursued by the state Department of Education, Oklahoma CareerTech and higher education,” Fallin said. “Sommers has long been an advocate for the kind of accountability measures implemented in Oklahoma, and I look forward to working closely with him in his new Cabinet level position.”
Fallin said she created the tourism secretary to reflect the importance of tourism to Oklahoma's economy.
Snodgrass begins serving in her Cabinet position immediately, according to the governor's office.
Fallin named her to lead the Tourism Department shortly after taking office in 2011. Snodgrass headed up Fallin's inaugural committee and was a founding partner of the public policy and research firm Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass and Associates, a Republican political consulting firm.
“Travel and tourism dollars generate over a billion dollars in annual revenue for Oklahoma's state and local governments, and help to support almost 80,000 jobs,” Fallin said.
Snodgrass, as tourism secretary, will ensure that the tourism industry “continues to be well-represented in the highest levels of the executive branch,” the governor said.
Fallin also combined the positions of secretary of energy and secretary of environment, creating a new secretary of energy and environment. She has 30 days to fill the position.
The governor also combined the secretary of information technology position with the secretary of finance position held by Preston Doerflinger, the director of the state office of Management and Enterprise Services.
His expanded title is secretary of finance, administration and information technology. Former Secretary of Information Technology Alex Pettit will no longer be on the Cabinet but will continue to serve as the state's chief information officer.
Fallin said the move to expand the finance secretary's title and responsibilities reflects the reorganizations that have occurred under government consolidation. With the former state finance office now consolidated with several agencies to form the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the finance secretary has a bigger role.
Gov. Mary Fallin has 13 positions on her Cabinet.
• Commerce Secretary Dave Lopez
• Education and Workforce Secretary Robert Sommers
• Energy and environment secretary (vacant)
• Finance, Administration and Information Technology Secretary Preston Doerflinger
• Health and Human Services Secretary Terry Cline
• Military Secretary Maj. Gen. Myles Deering
• Safety and Security Secretary Michael Thompson
• Science and Technology Secretary Stephen McKeever
• Secretary of State Larry Parman
• Tourism Secretary Deby Snodgrass
• Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley
• Veterans Affairs Secretary Rita Aragon