Screengrab of arts and culture website

HARTFORD, CT — (Updated 4 p.m.) There’s no indication outgoing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has anyone in mind for the position, but both Democratic legislative leaders, Republicans, and two men running for governor are critical of the decision to advertise an opening for an Arts and Culture Administrator.

The newly created, permanent position pays between $105,000 and $144,000 a year and the administrator is responsible “strengthening the state’s cultural and historic-preservation community to foster the awareness and growth of Connecticut’s historic and cultural assets in support of other agency initiatives that will promote economic and community development.”

The deadline to apply is Nov. 4, two days before the election of a new administration.

“There’s a $2 billion budget hole next year and the outgoing administration is rushing to fill the a director of arts and culture,” Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said. “Stop the nonsense. I mean does the state really even need a director of arts and culture?”

While they don’t often see eye-to-eye, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, agreed.

“I thought filling this position was problematic before, and still do,” Aresimowicz said. “With a new governor being elected in just a few weeks, it would make sense to leave unfilled positions vacant and let the new administration assess personnel needs.”

The same position was advertised back in January.

It was eventually awarded to Kristina Newman-Scott in May, but Newman-Scott ended up leaving in July to become the president of a Brooklyn, New York arts organization. 

The two of the three gubernatorial candidates agree.

Oz Griebel, who petitioned his way onto the ballot, said he doesn’t believe any role that’s not critical to fill should be filled at this point in time.

“We have a $4.6 billion operating deficit and we may need to deliver services in a whole different way,” Griebel said Tuesday.

Kendall Marr, a spokesman for Republican Bob Stefanowski, said “given the proximity of election day, Governor Malloy should allow the next administration to make the decision on this position.”

Marc Bradley, Ned Lamont’s campaign manager, said: “This election is going to be decided in three weeks and the next governor will have many decisions to make. But, Ned believes promoting Connecticut’s arts and culture is critical to attracting tourists to our state, supporting our economy and creating jobs, and making our towns attractive places for people to live.”

Jim Watson, a spokesman for the Department of Economic and Community Development which houses the Arts and Culture administrator position, said arts and culture are an important part of the agency’s mission.

“Because of the size and scope of their programs, it is critical to have a senior leader to manage the team,” Watson said. “The job posted is a permanent position (as was the position it replaces) that is required to manage the nearly 20 people in the operation – most of whom otherwise do not have a manager.”