Gov. Mark Gordon appointed a new director of the Wyoming Department of Revenue, he announced in a Friday press release.
The new director, Brenda Henson, served as administrator of the Property Tax Division for the Department of Revenue from 2013 before retiring in March 2020. Before that, she served as Laramie County Assessor.
“We are fortunate to have someone with Brenda’s expertise in Wyoming tax law and revenue policy taking the reins at the Department,” Gordon said in the release.
The Wyoming Department of Revenue includes the Administrative Services Division, the Excise Tax Division, the Property Tax Division, the Mineral Tax Division and the Liquor Division.
The position was previously filled by Dan Noble, who was in the role for 13 years.
The exact nature of his resignation is murky. Noble did not respond to request for comment and the Governor’s office declined to comment, stating that they do not comment on “personnel matters.”
Another former employee of the Department of Revenue, Nicole Novotny-Smith, also resigned when Noble did, but she told the Star-Tribune that her resignation was requested by the Governor’s office.
“On July 14, 2021, Chief-of-Staff McVeigh asked for my resignation as the Administrator of the Wyoming Liquor Division and I tendered my resignation effective that day,” she said in a Facebook message. “The request was unexpected.”
Her position has been filled by Tom Montoya, who will serve only as the interim administrator.
The Joint Appropriations Committee meeting on Monday shed a sliver of light on Noble’s resignation.
“I appreciate the steps Governor Gordon took last week to correct problems and leadership at the Department of Revenue and the Wyoming Liquor Division,” Stephen Abrams, liquor retailer based in Jackson, said to the committee.
“I have some feedback for the liquor division’s performance the past 18 months,” he continued. “Leadership did not take ownership of problems. Leadership did not listen to us, the customers. Leadership was not prepared. Leadership tried to bury problems. Leadership disrupted a great organization and leadership negatively impacted Wyoming businesses.”
Henson is coming into the role at a pivotal moment for Wyoming and the Department of Revenue. It’s no secret that Wyoming needs to find more reliable and sturdy revenue streams in the next couple years.
The state has seen a stark decline in revenue following the COVID-19 pandemic and the downturn of the state’s leading industry: energy.