Colyer to keep Brownback's Chief of Staff, announces other big changes

Sign painter Bob Sell paints Jeff Colyer's name on the Governor's office door. Colyer is to be sworn in as Governor of Kansas during an afternoon ceremony at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan., Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW/AP) — The man behind the governor's desk may have changed this week, but person who controls access into his office has not.

Gov. Jeff Colyer confirmed to 13 NEWS he will retain his predecessor's longtime Chief of Staff Jon Hummell, who has held that position since the beginning of former-Gov. Sam. Brownback's second term. He previously served a the policy director in the Brownback Administration.

While the governor's gatekeeper may be staying, Colyer is making other big changes in his cabinet.

On Friday, he named a veteran state legislator with a key role in drafting education funding legislation as his budget director. The new Republican governor on Friday gave one of the most visible positions in the administration to GOP state Rep. Larry Campbell of Olathe.

Campbell said he plans to start Monday.

Colyer named departing Budget Director Shawn Sullivan to a new position of chief operating officer to handle issues involving multiple agencies.

Campbell's appointment appears to be an effort to reach out to the Legislature. Campbell is vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and is chairman of a special House committee on education funding.

Campbell has served 13 years in the House. He's also a member of the Olathe City Council and a former Olathe mayor.

Colyer also said Phil Whitmer is stepping down from the Office of Information Technology and Donna Shelite will take over in an interim role.

Other changes announced by the Governor's Office include:


  • Jeff Anderson will serve as Acting Secretary after the departure of Susan Mosier*
  • Jon Hamdorf will serve as Medicaid Director. He had served as interim Medicaid Director since the departure of Michael Randol.
  • Greg Lakin has been named Chief Medical Officer.*
  • John Mitchell, Director of Environment, is leaving the agency
  • Leo Henning will serve as the Interim Director of Environment


  • Acting Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel has replaced former Secretary Phyllis Gilmore*
  • Kathe Decker will replace former Chief of Staff, Jeff Kahrs
  • Susan Gile is now serving as Deputy Secretary for Family Services
  • David Kurt is now serving as East Regional Director
  • Patricia Long will serve as Prevention and Protection Services Director


  • Interim Secretary Nick Jordan will depart the agency
  • Bob North will serve as Interim Secretary
  • Stan Alrech, Executive Director of Workforce and Innovation is leaving the agency
  • Diane DeBacker is now Executive Director for Business and Education Innovation*
  • *Previously announced

    With all of the changes, Colyer's office says his senior staff will now include:
    Governor’s Office Senior Staff

    • Jon Hummell- Chief of Staff
    • Brant Laue- Chief Counsel
    • Andrew Wiens- Chief Policy Officer
    • Tim Shallenburger- Legislative Affairs Director
    • Kendall Marr- Chief Communications Officer
    • Kara Fulmer- Press Secretary
    • Clay Barker- Special Assistant to the Governor
    • Karla Werth- Director of Constituent Services