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Gov. Kemp Announces New Agency Head Appointments

Brian Kemp

 

Atlanta, GA – Today, Governor Brian P. Kemp announced his appointment of Richard “Rick” Dunn as Director of the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB), effective July 1. Dunn currently serves as Director of the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Environmental Protection Division (EPD).

“I’m grateful for Rick’s continued willingness to serve his fellow Georgians as he returns to OPB, where he made valued contributions as the Deputy Director prior to his current role,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “He is an accomplished public servant who has made state government more efficient and more responsive to the needs of those we’re honored to serve, and I look forward to his continued impact.”

As Dunn takes the helm at OPB, the DNR Board voted today at a called meeting to appoint the governor’s Executive Counsel David Dove as Interim Director of EPD, also effective July 1. The governor approved this interim appointment and is grateful for Dove’s willingness to act in this role while continuing his service as Executive Counsel.

The governor also announced today his appointment of Russel Carlson as Commissioner of the Department of Community Health (DCH), effective August 1. Carlson currently serves as Chief Health Policy Officer for the Department.

“Russel has already benefited hardworking Georgians during his time at DCH and is both an intelligent and capable leader,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “He is the ideal candidate to step into this role at a time when the Department is overseeing major developments in Georgia’s healthcare system. I am confident he will carry these efforts forward with the same professionalism and efficiency he has demonstrated in his previous roles.”

In addition to the above announcements, Governor Kemp approved the DNR Board’s vote at today’s called meeting to appoint Walter Rabon as Interim Commissioner of DNR, effective July 1. He will take on these additional duties while maintaining his current responsibilities as Deputy Commissioner.

“Walter has been a dedicated member of the DNR team for many years,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “I know he will work hard to uphold the agency’s important mission of protecting Georgia’s natural wonders, and I appreciate his continued service.”

The Kemp family is proud to thank OPB Director Kelly Farr, DCH Commissioner Caylee Noggle, and DNR Commissioner Mark Williams for their service to the state as they begin new chapters in already notable careers.

Richard “Rick” Dunn currently serves as Director of the Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division. Previously, he worked as the Deputy Director of OPB, first beginning his tenure there in 2011. He has held multiple leadership roles in various state agencies, including positions with the Department of Human Resources, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Governor’s Office of Children and Families, and as Chairman of the Georgia Occupational Regulation Review Council. Prior to his career in public service, Dunn taught courses on politics and public policy at Dickinson College and the College of Charleston. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a master’s degree from the University of Georgia. Dunn and his wife, Susan, have one son and reside in Atlanta.

David Dove serves as Executive Counsel for the Office of Governor Brian Kemp. He previously served as Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel for then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Dove has also worked as an attorney at Robbins Alloy Belinfante Littlefield in Atlanta. Originally from Athens, he remains active on campus at the University of Georgia where he earned his undergraduate and juris doctorate degrees. He and his family live in Marietta, where he served as chairman of the city’s Ethics Committee from 2017-2019. He also represents the State of Georgia as a commissioner on the Uniform Law Commission.

Russel Carlson currently serves as the Chief Health Policy Officer at the Department of Community Health. Previously, he worked as Vice President of Government Relations for the Georgia Health Care Association and was the highest-ranking civilian in the Georgia Department of Defense as the Deputy Adjutant General, providing leadership and oversight for all administrative functions and more than 550 employees. He has held numerous other roles where he led policy, budget, and administrative functions within complex state government organizations. Carlson earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and is a graduate of Leadership Georgia. He and his wife, Anne-Marie, have three children and reside in Madison.

Walter Rabon currently serves as Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Natural Resources. He first began his career with DNR in 1993 as a Conservation Ranger, now referred to as Game Wardens, and worked his way up through the Law Enforcement Division, serving as a Major before stepping into the Deputy Commissioner role. Rabon earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Brenau University and a master’s degree from Columbus State University. He and his wife have three sons and five grandchildren, and they reside in Mansfield, Georgia.

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