Governor Dan Malloy on Thursday announced the reappointment of Mark Ojakian as chief of staff and Ben Barnes as the state’s budget chief. Barnes worked in the Bridgeport school system prior to his gubernatorial appointment. From Malloy:
Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that his Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian will continue serving in that role going into the Governor’s second term in office. Governor Malloy also announced that he will re-appoint Benjamin Barnes as the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) when his second term officially begins on January 7, 2015.
“Mark and Ben have played critical senior roles in my administration, leading the work we’ve accomplished these past four years to modernize state government, making it more cost-effective and more responsive to resident needs.” said Governor Malloy. “With Mark and Ben continuing to lead the charge, I look forward to making even greater strides to improve the economic outlook of Connecticut, grow even more jobs, and continue our transformation of state government.”
Before joining the Governor’s office, Mr. Ojakian was the Deputy Secretary of OPM and served as Deputy Comptroller under Lieutenant Governor Wyman for 16 years when she headed that office. In his role as Deputy Comptroller, Mr. Ojakian acted as senior policy advisor, had administrative responsibility for over 250 employees and fiscal responsibility for over $1 billion in state accounts.
“It has been an honor to serve Governor Malloy who I not only consider a dedicated, hard-working public servant, but also a great friend,” said Ojakian. “Under the Governor’s leadership, we’ve faced and overcame several obstacles in the first term while on our way to making Connecticut a better place to live, work, and raise a family. I am proud to stay on in my current role and continue to work with the Governor in his second term.”
At the beginning of his first term in office, Governor Malloy appointed Mr. Barnes to serve as the Secretary of OPM, which is the Governor’s staff agency and responsible for all aspects of policy, planning, budgeting and management of state government. Before joining OPM, Secretary Barnes was the Operating Officer for the Bridgeport Public Schools, overseeing the school system’s facilities, transportation, technology and $215 million budget. Previously, Secretary Barnes was the Director of Operations for the City of Stamford, a department with 250 employees, an annual operating budget of $43 million and a capital budget of $40 million.
“Over the last four years, we have seen significant progress in our efforts to do more with less in order to attain a smaller, more efficient executive branch. To date, those efforts have saved over $2 billion in taxpayer dollars,” said Secretary Barnes. “I am grateful to the Governor for his confidence in my leadership at OPM and look forward to continue serving the people of Connecticut.”
Working with the Governor, Barnes has produced, among other things, a series of balanced budgets, deposited more than $500 million in the Rainy Day Fund, implemented Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, began a statewide LEAN process to streamline government and fully funded annual pension obligations.