- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan Senate committee grilled the newly appointed state treasurer in a hearing Wednesday, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be approved.

The Republican-majority Senate Finance Committee questioned Treasurer Nick Khouri on issues ranging from how he planned to improve the department to whether he believed his former position with DTE Energy Co. would present a conflict of interest.

Advice and consent hearings have been rare under the Snyder administration; the only other one was in 2013 for the appointment of Richard Kalm as the executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder announced Khouri’s appointment March 17, and it took effect April 20. Michigan’s Constitution lets the Senate hold hearings up to 60 session days after an appointment is made, during which time it can be disapproved by a majority of the chamber.

Amber McCann, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, said the Senate is operating on a deadline around mid-June. She said the committee will hold at least one additional hearing before making a recommendation to the Government Operations Committee to be passed on to the full Senate.

Committee Chairman Sen. Jack Brandenburg presented Khouri with a document during the hearing listing concerns Brandenburg said he has heard over the past several years about the Department of Treasury.

Khouri offered to follow up with the committee in writing or appear at another hearing to respond to questions about the list, which he had not seen before. Brandenburg requested that Khouri respond in writing by June 10.

Khouri told the committee he took the job because he wants to be part of taking on big issues, and he plans to develop metrics to measure the department’s progress on improvements.

Khouri served as the state’s chief deputy treasurer in the 1990s before becoming senior vice president at DTE Energy Co. in Detroit. He said he would recuse himself from any matters specifically involving the utility company.

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