CARSON CITY — Gov. Steve Sisolak has tapped Reno City Councilman David Bobzien to lead the Nevada Department of Energy, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.
“David’s experience and leadership in the State Legislature and on the Reno City Council will serve the office and the state well. I am excited to work with him as we begin this new chapter in Nevada,” Sisolak said in a statement.
Bobzien said in a statement that he is “honored and humbled” by the appointment.
“I worked with some outstanding professionals at the City of Reno, and I am proud that I was able to serve the citizens of Reno as a City Council Member,” Bobzien said.
He was appointed to the city council in 2014 as the body’s at-large member, and has earned a reputation as a clean energy and sustainability advocate. Bobzien also was appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Government Advisory Committee.
Bobzien served four terms in the the state Assembly representing District 24 in Reno from 2006 to 2014, where he championed conservation and energy measures, and was named as the 2009 Assemblyman of the year by the Nevada Conservation League.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve called the news “bittersweet” for Reno.
“The State of Nevada is adding a truly talented and well-respected individual to their team, but at the same time we are losing an incredible asset here at the City,” Schieve said. “David has a wealth of legislative and policy experience. We thank him for his years of service, and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Bobzien’s first day as director of the state energy department will be Jan. 22, when he will resign from his city council seat. The Reno city council will discuss options to fill his at-large position on Jan. 23.
Sisolak’s office also announced that Richard Whitley will continue to serve as the director of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Whitley has been the director since June of 2015, and previously spent 15 years with the Division of Public Health and later the Division of Mental Health and Developmental services.
“Richard’s experience at DHHS, as well as his long public service career here in our state, will be incredibly valuable as we continue to move Nevada forward,” Sisolak said.
It also was announced that Suzanne Bierman, a health care policy analyst at the Nevada think-tank the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, will head the Nevada Medicaid program.
According to the announcement on the Division of Health Care Financing and Policy’s website, Bierman helped oversee the Medicaid program in Arkansas as assistant director before joining the Guinn Center.
Her predecessor, Marta Jensen, retired late last year. Deputy Administrator Cody Phinney replaced Jensen as acting administrator before Bierman’s hire.