Nixon taps AG staffer as revenue director

Saturday, December 20, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Governor-elect Jay Nixon has chosen a member of his inner circle at the attorney general's office to run Missouri's tax collection agency.

Nixon said Friday that he will appoint Karen Mitchell, 50, of Columbia, to direct the Department of Revenue. Besides tax collection, the agency also handles driver's and motor vehicle licenses.

Mitchell has worked in the attorney general's office since 1987 and has been Nixon's deputy attorney general since 1999.

Nixon said it's important to have a revenue director who understands state government.

He's following a similar path as Gov. Matt Blunt, who picked a revenue director from his inner circle at the secretary of state's office when he became governor four years ago. Revenue director Trish Vincent later moved on to become Blunt's chief of staff in the governor's office.

One of the first tasks confronting Mitchell will be to make good on Nixon's plan to competitively bid all 183 local fee offices, which handle vehicle registrations and sales taxes and driver's licenses.

Governors traditionally have awarded those offices to political supporters. Blunt initially followed suit in appointing fee office agents but has sought bids to run offices that have become vacant during his term.

Mitchell's appointment is subject to Senate confirmation after Nixon takes office Jan. 12.

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