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LANSING, MI-The governor’s director of public policy will be leading the agency in charge of Michigan’s real estate holdings. Lisa Webb Sharpe, 41, has been named director of the Department of Management and Budget. She replaces Mitch Irwin, who left DMB to serve as the director of the state’s Agriculture Dept.

Webb Sharpe is currently the Cabinet secretary and public policy director in the governor’s office. She will be the first African American to serve as DMB director when she begins her duties on Aug. 1.

“Lisa Webb Sharpe has been instrumental in the work that the Department of Management and Budget has already done to streamline state government, save taxpayer dollars and increase efficiency,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm in a statement. The governor’s appointment now awaits confirmation by the state Senate.

In 2002, then-Gov. John Engler consolidated the management of all of Michigan’s non-park and recreation lands under the DMB. Since then, the agency has been on a mission to reconfigure and maximize the state’s use of owned and leased office space, prompting several state office and other buildings to be sold. Just last month, for example, the agency approved the sale of the former state Executive Office Plaza building in downtown Detroit for $6.3 million.

Webb Sharpe holds a bachelor of business administration degree in personnel and industrial relations from Eastern Michigan University and a master of business administration degree in international business from Wayne State University. Prior to joining Granholm’s administration, she worked at the Traverse Group in Ann Arbor as director of housing services and spent eight years in Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer’s administration.

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