Ritter fills 3 more posts for Cabinet

By Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News

January 5, 2007

Gov.-elect Bill Ritter announced three more appointments Thursday, tapping yet another former Denver city administration official to serve in his Cabinet.

Ritter chose former Denver Fire Chief Rich Gonzales to run the state Personnel and Administration Department.

He appointed health care policy professional Joan Henneberry to oversee Health Care Policy and Financing, which handles Medicaid. She worked for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment from 1984 to 1997.

Finally, Ritter tapped environmental expert Harris Sherman to manage the Department of Natural Resources. Sherman held the same job from 1975 to 1980 for former Democratic Gov. Dick Lamm.

Sherman’s appointment surprised some Democrats, who assumed Ritter would keep the current director, Russ George, a Rifle Republican popular in both parties.

George could not be reached for comment.

Ritter, a Democrat, takes office on Tuesday. His appointments are effective immediately, but they must be confirmed by the Senate to stay on the job.

Ritter still has at least four major appointments to make, including state transportation director and head of the Revenue Department.

“The governor-elect was aiming to have most of his Cabinet in place by Tuesday, and he has accomplished that goal,” said Evan Dreyer, Ritter’s spokesman.

Ritter, a former Denver district attorney, earlier appointed former Denver auditor Don Mares to run the Labor Department and former Denver manager of public safety Ari Zavaras to oversee the Corrections Department.

As for Thursday’s appointments:

Gonzales served in the fire department from 1972 to 2001. He has has worked as vice president of various divisions of the Mile High United Way.

Henneberry is senior vice president of government health services for Policy Studies Inc. and previously worked for seven years with the National Governors Association in Washington, developing an expertise on health care policy.

Sherman is a senior partner with the law firm of Arnold & Porter, practicing primarily in the areas of natural resources, environment, water, land use and public land law.

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