Missouri Gov.-elect Nixon makes first cabinet appointment

Monday, November 17, 2008 | 5:18 p.m. CST; updated 10:39 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 20, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — In his first cabinet appointment, Gov.-elect Jay Nixon named a Kansas City businessman who lives in Columbia, to help coordinate the central management functions of Missouri government.

Nixon, a Democrat, appointed Kelvin Simmons to the post of Commissioner of Administration. Simmons will coordinate the state's Office of Administration including its seven divisions: accounting, budget and planning, facilities management, design and construction, general services, information technology services and purchasing and materials management.

Simmons said his experience as the Public Service Commission chairman and director of the Department of Economic Development give him the knowledge necessary for the job. Simmons also worked with the Office of Administration in 1993 as the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity.

"Understanding the budget, understanding how to deal with the legislature, interacting with the legislature, all of those things are necessary in a director's job or a commissioner's job in being able to conduct business for the citizens of the state of Missouri," he said.

Simmons said his first priority will be to learn about Missouri's issues and analyze the budget with former Sen. Wayne Goode, D-St. Louis County, deputy transition director for budget review.

"You always want to determine what you can do better," he said.

Nixon said Simmons would use taxpayers' money as efficiently as possible.

"Kelvin will bring a wealth of both private and public sector experience to the office," Nixon said.

Commissioner Larry Schepker said he had not met Simmons but looked forward to helping him move into the position.

"I have a list of key issues that the Office of Administration is involved in," Schepker said. "I look forward to going over that list, going over background information with Mr. Simmons."

Nixon spokesperson Oren Shur said he expected Simmons to smoothly transition into the commissioner of administration position.

"Simmons has a lot of experience dealing with budgets, operating them, understanding them, and operating under them," he said.

Shur said that despite a difficult economic situation currently facing Missouri, Simmons' leadership would be efficient, effective and give Missourians "more bang for the buck."

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