Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Paul Mounds will be Gov.-elect Ned Lamont’s first chief operating officer (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Drawing on his business background and discussions with other governors, Gov.-elect Ned Lamont is rethinking how government operates.

As a result of those discussions, Lamont hired Paul Mounds as his first and Connecticut’s first chief operating officer.

Mounds, 33, who worked as director of policy in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s legislative office and served as a member of the Commission on Fiscal Stability, will have an opportunity to work with state agencies and better coordinate how they interact with each other and the public.

Mounds, who is still negotiating his salary, will report to Lamont Chief of Staff Ryan Drajewicz.

“Paul is a relationship builder and someone who understands how the executive branch agencies can best be leveraged to create lasting and impactful change on behalf of the people of Connecticut,” Lamont said.

Even though the position is new to Connecticut, having a chief operating officer in state government is not a new idea.

A survey by the National Governors Association in 2015 found the position of chief operating officer was found in a handful of states including Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, and Vermont.

“What we’ve done is look at this from the taxpayers shoes,” Drajewicz said. “And how do we reverse engineer these processes, these agencies to ensure that the taxpayers have a better user experience when they’re looking to do business with the state of Connecticut.”

He said Mounds will be looking at creating and then evaluating the “operational metrics” for each state agency. Mounds will be able to get into the weeds with state agencies about their day-to-day operations and their efficiencies.

Mounds said the role of COO is increasing necessary as the needs of the state grow larger and are more complex.

The role will be new, but it fits within the current structure. Drajewicz, who spent the last eight years at Bridgewater Associates, said he doesn’t intend to use the new COO position to expand the number of executive branch staff, which shrank 13 percent over Malloy’s eight years.

Drajewicz said a chief of staff has three primary responsibilities: operational, budgetary and strategic. He said by giving up the operational portion to Mounds he will have more time to focus on the strategic, which includes policy.

“I think I am best serving the governor-elect as a strategic thought partner,” Drajewicz said.

He said while Mounds will be the one communicating with the state agencies “ultimately the governor is in charge and through me we’ll make sure we are prioritizing the right things.”

Keeping operational issues and headaches that come with them away from Lamont will free him up to focus on policy issues he cares about getting done.

“There are a lot of ways a chief operating officer will make sure all these departments are working together collaboratively,” Lamont said.

Republican Senate leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, applauded Mounds’ hire.

“Paul is hard-working, well-respected and has a thorough knowledge of state government,” Fasano said. “I wish Paul tremendous success in this key operational role, and I applaud Gov.-elect Lamont on this selection.”

Governor-elect Ned Lamont announces another addition to his cabinent – Paul Mounds will be Connecticut’s first Chief Operations Officer. READ IT HERE:
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Posted by on Friday, December 14, 2018