Culver appoints Finance Authority chief to head DED

A news release from the governor’s office announces the new, full-time director of the Department of Economic Development has been leading the Iowa Finance Authority.  Read the announcement below:


Begins government reorganization by moving housing program from DED to IFA

DES MOINES  — Governor Chet Culver continued his efforts to reorganize state government by making two new appointments for key government positions.  In addition, the Governor took further steps to streamline state government by moving a key housing program from the Department of Economic Development to the Iowa Finance Authority.

Brett MillsThe Governor announced today Bret Mills, currently the director of the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA), as his choice to lead the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED).  Mills replaces current interim director Fred Hubbell, who has served in the position since September.  Replacing Mills at IFA will be Joe O’Hern, who has served as interim deputy director of IDED for the last three months and as deputy director of IFA before that.

“First of all, I want to thank Fred Hubbell for his service and providing the necessary leadership to the Department of Economic Development,” said Governor Culver.  “During these difficult economic times, we need strong leadership at both IDED and IFA, and there are no better choices for these key positions than Bret Mills and Joe O’Hern.  They have worked tirelessly on behalf of Iowans throughout their careers, and I want to thank them for their service.  With our team in place, I am confident that we will work our way out of this recession and build a brighter future for Iowa.”

“I look forward to this opportunity with the Iowa Department of Economic Development and working closely with Governor Culver to attract new economic opportunities to the state and create quality good-paying jobs for Iowans,” said IDED Director Bret Mills.

“I am excited to return to IFA in this new position and facilitate the transition of the HOME program to this agency to assist the Governor’s efforts to make state government more efficient,” said IFA Director Joe O’Hern.

The Governor also announced today that he is jumpstarting his efforts to streamline and reorganize state government by moving the HOME program from IDED to IFA, which is the state’s lead agency on housing issues.

“Since taking office, I have worked hard to make state government more efficient, and more effective,” said Governor Culver.  “That is why I am moving the HOME program from IDED to IFA, which is where it belongs.  This not only will help streamline our housing efforts, but it will ensure that IDED is staying true to its mission: attracting new businesses, growing current companies, and retaining and creating jobs statewide.”

The transfer of the HOME Investment Partnership program to IFA from IDED is scheduled for the spring of 2010 once IDED has announced the 2010 HOME awards and upon the written designation by Governor Culver to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The measure is being taken to consolidate key federal housing resources in one agency which will not only ease and speed the administration of the programs but also provide a one-stop shop for affordable housing project sponsors.  47 states co-locate the HOME program with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), administered through IFA, in order to gain these efficiencies as LIHTC projects commonly include the HOME subsidy to close financing gaps.

HOME provides formula grants to states and localities that communities use – often in partnership with local nonprofit groups – to fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people.

ohern200A native of Clay County in northwest Iowa, Bret Mills was appointed Executive Director of the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) on Feb. 11, 2005.  Mills originally joined IFA as Chief Financial Officer on Jan. 17, 2003. Prior to joining IFA, Mills worked in the State Treasurer’s office for 15 years, the last nine of which he served as Deputy State Treasurer.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, and a B.S. in Accounting and an M.B.A. from Drake University.  Mills is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants. Mills served in the Iowa National Guard from 1984 to 1990.

Joe O’Hern has worked tirelessly on housing issues throughout his career. Prior to joining IFA, O’Hern served as a Regional Director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development administering housing and infrastructure programs and as a Lead Director for Fannie Mae covering four Midwestern states including Iowa. O’Hern joined IFA in 2007 first as the Director of HousingIowa and then became the Deputy Director in 2009. He is a native of Barnum, Iowa and received his B.A. from Princeton University.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.