CHICAGO — Michigan Republican Governor-elect Rick Snyder has tapped Utah’s top budget official as his new budget director, starting Jan. 1.

John Nixon has served as executive director and state budget director for the Utah Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget since 2006. He is also president of the National Association of State Budget Officers.

He will replace Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s long-time budget director, Robert Emerson.

Snyder said he hired Nixon to help implement in Michigan the kind of budget practices that have earned Utah coveted triple-A marks from all three major rating agencies. Nixon will begin to repair Michigan’s “broken budget process” by creating transparent and easy-to-understand practices, Snyder said.

“John will work with us to bring fiscal responsibility, stability, transparency, and the citizens’ priorities to state government,” Snyder said in a statement.

Nixon previously was chief financial officer of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

The appointment follows a string of other appointments in recent weeks since Snyder won the Nov. 2 election. He named Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon as treasurer.

In a press conference Tuesday, Snyder said he would impose a corporate structure on parts of state government, in part by ending the practice of having department heads report directly to the governor. Instead, he will assemble a cabinet-like group of six leaders who will meet regularly with department heads and the governor. Both Dillon and Nixon will be part of the cabinet.

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