State

UPDATED: Gov. Sam Brownback’s chief of staff stepping down

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s chief of staff is stepping down next week to take a job with an automobile industry group in Washington, the governor’s office announced Monday.

Landon Fulmer has been the Republican governor’s chief of staff since April 2012. Fulmer worked on Brownback’s staff in Washington when Brownback served as a U.S. senator and joined his staff in Topeka as policy director when Brownback became governor in January 2011.

Fulmer was the architect of a plan Brownback outlined late in 2011 to overhaul how the state distributes more than $3 billion in aid to its public schools, one designed to simplify the distribution formula and lift limits on local school boards’ power to levy property taxes. Educators were skeptical, and the plan didn’t gain much traction with lawmakers. Brownback said earlier this month that he’s working on new school funding proposals.

Fulmer’s resignation is effective Jan. 5. He'll become vice president of state affairs with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents 12 companies accounting for 77 percent of U.S. car and light truck sales. Fulmer described himself as “a car guy since childhood.”

Brownback said in a statement: “Landon has been an integral part of my team for many years, both in Kansas and in Washington.”

Brownback said he is promoting Jon Hummell from policy director to chief of staff, though Hummell will keep his duties as policy director until that position can be filled. Hummell served as acting budget director for eight months in 2013 and 2014.

The governor’s office also said Chuck Knapp will serve as Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer’s chief of staff while remaining deputy secretary for operations and public affairs at the Department for Children and Families.

Mark Dugan was Colyer’s chief of staff until leaving in March to run the governor’s successful re-election campaign. In the interim, the position was filled by Timothy Keck, deputy chief counsel at the Department of Health and Environment.

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