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Hogan shifts head of Maryland labor department to commerce agency

Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday he is appointing state Labor Secretary Kelly Schulz to lead Maryland’s commerce department, moving her within the cabinet to replace Michael Gill, who is resigning to return to his former job in the private sector.

Before she became the head of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation at the start of Hogan’s first term nearly four years ago, Schulz represented Frederick County in Maryland’s House of Delegates as a Republican.

In a statement, Hogan called Schulz a “strong advocate for Maryland’s job creators” with a “proven track record of working directly with our business community to create jobs, enhance economic growth and expand opportunity for both businesses and workers.”

At the labor department, Schulz manages an agency with nearly 2,000 employees and an operating budget of more than $375 million. During her tenure, Maryland’s apprenticeship program grew to its highest level since 2008, with more than 10,000 apprentices statewide.

Gill, who has led the agency formerly known as the Department of Business and Economic Development since Hogan took office in 2015, is resigning to return to his old job as chairman of Columbia-based Evergreen Advisors.

“I want to thank Mike Gill for his distinguished service,” Hogan said in the statement. “Under his leadership, Commerce has played a pivotal role in transforming Maryland’s economy, and we owe him a debt of gratitude.”

Hogan named former Anne Arundel County Del. James Rzepkowski as acting secretary of the labor department. He already works in the agency as assistant secretary for its division of workforce development and adult learning. Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said there will be a search for a permanent replacement for Schulz.

The governor’s office said the appointments of Schulz and Rzepkowski will take effect Jan. 1.

Schulz’s appointment is subject to Maryland Senate confirmation.

luke.broadwater@baltsun.com

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