Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson has been selected as undersecretary for intergovernmental policy, a $151,000-a-year job he will take once his term as mayor ends.
The position will be folded into the Office of Policy and Management and Jackson will report directly to OPM Secretary Benjamin Barnes, which Jackson said would be the difficult part of the transition.
“That’s going to be the tough one, to know that there are people above me,” Jackson said during a brief interview. “Even if he says, ‘Call me Ben,’ I will call him ‘Secretary Barnes.’”
Jackson’s term as mayor ends April 16 and he will begin his new duties the following day.
It will not be Jackson’s first foray into statewide government. He previously served on two state panels, the first on storm mitigation following hurricanes Irene and Sandy and he chaired the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission.
In addition, Jackson recently “handed over the gavel” as chairman of the local council of governments, a position he said prepared him for statewide scope.
The goal of this new role will be to act as a liaison between state agencies and non-governmental entities delivering services in urban areas, streamlining the delivery of investments, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy explained Tuesday.
“The health and vibrancy of our urban centers are critical to the overall well being of our state and the regions that surround them. Whether we’re talking about housing needs, economic development strategies, education concerns, transit-oriented development investments, or criminal justice issues, these issue areas are frequently interconnected and need to be cohesively strategized for maximum effectiveness,” Malloy said in a release. “Scott Jackson has years of experience handling many of these issues in a number of positions with the town of Hamden and will serve as an effective advocate for the state to ensure that we are unified in our approach to these policies.”
Jackson, who has been mayor since 2009, called the appointment “bittersweet” but “an opportunity I could not turn down.”
“Although serving as mayor of my hometown has been enormously gratifying, the opportunity to join a statewide team like the one assembled at OPM is a truly exceptional opportunity,” Jackson said in the release.
As for how his family would handle the the transition, including a commute to Hartford, Jackson said he was not concerned.
“My kids are young,” he said. “They don’t remember a time that I was not mayor.”
Jackson, who has been mentioned as someone who could run for statewide office, recently told WFSB’s Dennis House that he’s not interested in politics.
“In my heart I’m a policy analyst,” Jackson told House. “I’m sort of a technician in the arcane workings of government.”