With just 10 days to go before he takes the oath of office, Governor-elect Mike DeWine on Thursday named eight more people to key posts in his administration, including nominating Annette Chambers-Smith to lead the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Ohio DRC is one of the state’s largest agency with a $1.8-billion annual budget, 12,227 employees, 51,273 inmates and 27 prisons, including three in the Miami Valley.
Chambers-Smith spent the last five years as an executive with JPay Inc., a Securus Technologies Company based in Florida that provides services such as email, video visits and money transfers for inmates. But the bulk of her career — 21 years — was spent as a deputy director at DRC.
Chambers-Smith, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Wilberforce University, will be the first woman to lead the department.
DeWine also nominated former state lawmaker Jeff McClain as tax commissioner; Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik as director of developmental services; assistant secretary of state Matt Damschroder as director of administrative services, which is the state’s buying agency; and Kevin Miller for his current job as director of Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.
DeWine appointed three men for top staff positions: lobbyist Dan McCarthy as legislative affairs director; attorney Michael Hall as policy director; and Ryan Burgess, who currently works in the Kasich administration on workforce issues, as director of cabinet affairs.
DeWine said he is picking people who are tough and strong, share his core values and are not afraid to tell him when he’s wrong.
Previously, DeWine announced Laurel Dawson as his chief of staff, Mary Mertz as director of the Department of Natural Resources, Ann O’Donnell as chief advisor, Alisha Nelson as director of RecoveryOhio, which will focus on the opioid crisis, Lisa Peterson as his communications chief, LeeAnne Cornyn as director of children’s initiatives and Ervan Rodgers, II, as the top information technology officer for the state.
DeWine, a Republican, also picked General John C. Harris, Jr. for Adjutant General, who commands the 17,000 members of Ohio Army and Air National Guard.
DeWine will officially be sworn in as governor shortly after midnight Jan. 14 in a private ceremony at his Greene County home. A ceremonial swearing-in will be held at the Ohio Statehouse at noon Jan. 14.