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Director Simmons to leave Missouri's Office of Administration

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 20, 2011 - Kelvin Simmons, the commissioner of the state's Office of Administration, will leave his post next year.

Gov. Jay Nixon's office sent out a press release Tuesday morning saying that Simmons would leave his post Feb. 1. Simmons has been commissioner of the state agency since Nixon took office in 2009.

"I thank Gov. Nixon for the opportunity to be a part of his outstanding team over the past three years," Simmons said in a statement. "It was been an honor to work closely with the dedicated men and women of the Office of Administration as we've worked each and every day to make state government more efficient, effective and accountable to the taxpayers. I'm proud of the steps we've taken to cut costs, expand our web presence and create a smarter, faster government for the people of our state."

Added Nixon in a statement: "Under Kelvin's leadership, we have dramatically expanded our use of the internet to deliver faster service at lower costs; reduced the physical footprint of state government; enhanced diversity in state hiring and contracts; and saved millions of dollars through smarter and more effective practices. We've also balanced our budget every year, held the line on taxes, and preserved Missouri's spotless Triple-A credit rating."

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said he didn't have any specific information about Simmons' future plans. He sent the Beacon Simmons' resignation letter, which stated he'll be "pursuing an opportunity outside of state government."

For years, some Democrats have encouraged Simmons to consider running for office.

Simmons previously served on the Public Service Commission and was also a director of the Department of Economic Development under Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat. Earlier in his career, Simmons served as director of the Office of Equal Opportunity in the Office of Administration and was director of constituent services under Gov. Mel Carnahan. He also was a Kansas City councilman throughout the 1990s.

The Office of Administration is responsible for several state government functions, including budgeting, maintaining the state's facilities and controlling information technology services.

The press release said Doug Nelson, Nixon's deputy chief of staff, will serve as acting director. Nelson previously served as deputy commissioner and general counsel for the Office of Administration from January 2009 to February 2010.

Jason Rosenbaum, a freelance journalist in St. Louis, covers state and local government and politics. 

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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