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Hogan’s energy policy leader moved to Department of General Services

A. Leigh Williams, the director of the Maryland Energy Administration, is changing roles less than a year after Gov. Larry Hogan appointed her to lead the agency tasked with setting policy on reducing energy consumption in the state.

Williams leaves the job she has held since May 19, 2015, to become the the new deputy secretary of energy for the state Department of General Services.

“Leigh Williams brings a wealth of energy and utility-related knowledge to our department,” said Secretary Gail Bassette in an emailed statement. “I am proud to welcome Leigh Williams to the leadership team at DGS and will look to her for expertise in developing and promoting affordable and reliable energy policies that will demonstrate real, quantifiable savings for Maryland’s citizens.”

Williams, who was hired at a salary of about $78,000 annually, spent less than a year at the Maryland Energy Administration, an agency of about 40-50 state and contractual employees. Her tenure has been marked by a move of the offices from Annapolis to Baltimore and a shake-up in staffing and large numbers of unfilled positions, including every leadership position within the agency’s Energy Policy, Planning and Analysis Division.

A budget review earlier this year by the Department of Legislative Analysis noted that of the 32 state positions in the administration, 15 were unfilled — a vacancy rate of over 46 percent.

Williams’ position at the Department of General Services was newly created and will pay more than $132,000 annually. It is effective immediately.

Douglass Mayer, a spokesman for Hogan, said the move had nothing to do with the large number of vacancies in the agency.

“The governor believes that we can attain very significant energy savings throughout the administration and she’s going to lead that effort at DGS,” Mayer said, adding that this effort will tie into the governor’s desire to make state government more efficient.

An announcement concerning a replacement for Williams at the Maryland Energy Administration is expected soon, Mayer said.