Granholm's Chief of State Announces Departure

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Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday that Chief of Staff Rick Wiener is leaving his post on Nov. 1.

John Burchett, head of the Democratic governor's office in Washington, D.C., will take over for Wiener. Burchett will begin taking over some of his new job responsibilities next month.

Wiener said he told the governor several months ago that he would leave the administration by year's end.

Wiener listed next year's election, when Granholm will face re-election, as one of the reasons for his departure. Granholm has not yet officially said she's running, but a "Granholm for Governor" Web site urges supporters to donate their time and money to her campaign.

"The governor needs a chief of staff who can dedicate exceptional intensity 24 hours a day, seven days a week to her office," Wiener said in a written statement. "I've decided that I simply cannot commit to that same level of sustained intensity going forward."

Burchett, a Michigan native, served in a number of positions in Washington since moving there in 1997. Before that, he was an assistant corporation counsel in Wayne County, specializing in real estate and economic development projects for three years.

Wiener is a former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party who ran a lobbying business before joining Granholm when she won the governorship in 2002. He divested himself of his share in the lobbying business before becoming chief of staff.