- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said three executive orders he issued during the weekend will improve some of the state’s administrative functions, expand the economy and make the state more affordable.

The Republican governor’s first order aligns the Department of Labor and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development under a new Agency of Economic Opportunity.

“For our economy to grow, employers need workers and unemployed workers need jobs,” Scott said Tuesday. “I believe this reality should be reflected in a single agency.”

The merger moves all functions of the two agencies, except the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Project WorkSAFE, a workplace safety group, and Passenger Tramway Safety. Those functions will be moved to the Department of Public Safety.

The second order unifies the state’s information technology portfolio under a new Agency of Digital Services, while the third combines the Department of Liquor Control and the state Lottery Commission into a single commission.

Scott said aligning and integrating these agencies and departments will strengthen state government’s ability to deliver on rebuilding Vermont’s private-sector workforce and provide more efficient and effective service.

While he hopes the combined offices will increase the efficiency of government, Scott could not say if it would save the state money.

And the changes will be done with existing resources.

Vermont lawmakers have 90 days to object to the orders since the changes were ordered through executive orders. Scott said his office is willing to work with lawmakers who have concerns about the restructuring.

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