Thursday, June 20, 2013
AUGUSTA -- The state's finance chief, Ryan Low, is leaving the Baldacci administration to take a job at the University of Maine at Farmington, the governor announced Thursday.
Staff file photo by Andy Molloy
Low, of Winthrop, will leave his post as commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services in early July.
His is the second resignation of a high-ranking Baldacci administration official to be announced in as many days. On Wednesday, the governor's office announced Education Commissioner Susan Gendron was leaving to take a job with an education consortium.
Low has accepted a two-year appointment as as the interim vice president for administration at UMF, his alma mater. He'll replace 33-year UMF administrator William Geller, whose retirement is effective June 30, the college announced.
"Ryan has done an incredible job during one of the most difficult economic times in a generation," Baldacci said in a statement. "His integrity and depth of knowledge about state government have earned him the trust and respect of Democrats and Republicans alike. He is one of my closest advisers, and his patience and wisdom will be missed."
Low, 39, took over as commissioner in September 2008 when Rebecca Wyke departed, also for a job in the university system. Before that, Low spent nearly two years as the governor's deputy chief of staff and more than six years in the legislative branch.
"I still very much enjoy my job, but I'm obviously aware of the administration coming to an end," he said. "I wasn't out pursuing anything and this opportunity came up."
Baldacci's term ends in January, when a new governor will take over. He will name an acting commissioner this spring.
In addition to being the governor's point person on the budget, Low was in charge of overseeing state facilities, human resources, information technology and Maine Revenue Services. He also served as the state's stimulus czar, overseeing an influx of federal stimulus money.
Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, said Low will be missed by lawmakers who relied on him for information as they crafted the budget.
"I think Ryan has done a great job," Millett said. "He's been very open and candid with the committee. I've always found him to be a straight shooter."
Millett, who served as finance commissioner under Gov. John McKernan, knows what it's like to serve in that position when the state budget is facing severe reductions.
"It's not just day to day, nights and weekends; ... it's the need to be there at a moment's notice," he said.
Low said he's looking forward to getting back on campus and spending more time in the Farmington area. He and his family will continue to live in Winthrop.
"It was a nice fit and too good an opportunity to pass up," he said.
Susan Cover -- 620-7015