Raimondo makes staff changes as she prepares to depart for Washington

Updated at 12:31 p.m. on Feb. 23, 2021.

GOV. GINA M. RAIMONDO signs an executive order on Monday authorizing Lt. Gov. Daniel J. McKee to oversee and manage the fiscal year 2022 state budget. / COURTESY R.I. OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
GOV. GINA M. RAIMONDO signs an executive order on Monday authorizing Lt. Gov. Daniel J. McKee to oversee and manage the fiscal year 2022 state budget. / COURTESY R.I. OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

PROVIDENCE Gov. Gina M. Raimondo made staff changes at three pivotal state departments in consultation with Lt. Gov. Daniel J. McKee, the governor announced Monday evening.

The staff changes come as Raimondo  prepares to depart for Washington for the position of U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Raimondo’s confirmation vote is pending in the U.S. Senate, and was placed on hold by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. McKee will assume the role of governor upon Raimondo’s departure.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor that he hopes to consider Raimondo’s confirmation, “early next week.”

The staff changes are as follows:

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  • Matt Weldon was appointed acting director of the Department of Labor and Training, effective Tuesday. Weldon had been serving as the DLT’s assistant director. DLT Director Scott Jensen is stepping down on Tuesday.
  • Jim Thorsen has been promoted to acting director of the Department of Administration, effective March 2. He is serving as director of the Department of Revenue. DOA Director Brett Smiley will depart from his position on March 1.
  • Marilyn McConaghy was named acting director of the Department of Revenue, a position she previously held, effective March 2. She is currently serving as head of legal services for the Department of Revenue.

Additionally, Raimondo signed an executive order enabling McKee to introduce the state budget on the timeline that is set forth by the General Assembly. The order states that it is in the best interest of the state to delegate to Lt. Gov. McKee the authority “to manage and oversee the development of the fiscal year 2022 budget.”

“As the budget proceeds through the legislative process over the coming months, and will be in effect for the coming year, the governor feels it is important that the incoming governor have the opportunity to set his own direction and priorities.”

The order notes that Raimondo, “looks forward to continuing to support the Lt. Governor throughout the transition as he steps into a leadership role in the state’s COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout.”

Cassius Shuman is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Shuman@PBN.com.

Updated to include comments from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

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