Lamont announces new CT COO

Gov.-Elect Ned Lamont and his choice for chief operating officer, Paul Mounds. (CTMirror.org)

Gov-elect Ned Lamont shared his first plans for restructuring state government Friday, announcing a new post of chief operating officer — a position recommended and never implemented decades ago in Connecticut, while becoming increasingly common in governors’ offices across the U.S.

While some governors have looked to corporate executives and state agency heads for COOs, Lamont’s choice is Paul Mounds, who has held a number of policy and communications jobs in state and federal government, as well as special projects that put him in touch with a variety of state agencies.

Chief operating officers in other states typically allow a governor’s chief of staff to be more strategic, while fostering close cooperation between agencies that often operate as independent silos. Mounds will report to Lamont’s chief of staff, Ryan Drajewicz.

“This decision comes after a lot of thought,” Lamont said. “Ryan and I have had a chance to talk to many of the commissioners, deputies and to those that deal with our different departments across the state.”

Lamont said the new post will not require additional funding, just a reapportionment of current funding.

“We’ve really utilized this time during the transition to really step back and rethink the organizational design for state government,” said Drajewicz, who is joining the new administration after serving as an executive at the hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates.

Mounds, 33, now the vice president of policy and communications for the Connecticut Health Foundation, was an aide to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for five years, leaving the administration in late 2016 as the director of policy and government affairs. He also worked on the staffs of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. John B. Larson.

“I very much understand the commitment of our agencies and our workforce to bring about change,” Mounds said.

More recently, Mounds was a member of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Competitiveness.

The new organizational structure will lighten the workload of the chief of staff and most likely allow Lamont’s choice for secretary of policy and management, Melissa McCaw, to focus on the state budget. In some administrations, the OPM secretary has acted as a political strategist and de facto deputy chief of staff.

Lamont, 64, the founder of a digital telecommunications company, has promised to use his network outside politics to bring a fresh approach to state government and economic development. But his early appointees to the office of the governor have extensive political and government experience, including time in the Malloy administration.

Colleen Flanagan Johnson, a former Malloy communications director who left state government for corporate jobs, was named earlier this week as senior adviser. His general counsel will be Superior Court Judge Robert W. Clark, a former special counsel to Attorney General George Jepsen.

Aside from OPM, Lamont has not named an agency head.

Lamont and Drajewicz said they have focused instead on a broader structure for government, with a focus on simplifying how businesses and taxpayers interact with it.

“How do we reverse engineer these processes, these agencies to ensure that the taxypayers have a better user experience when they are looking to do business with the state of Connecticut,” Drajewicz said. “Whether or not you are a barbershop looking to open up…what is that front door? What is that experience?”

Lamont said the new structure eventually could lower costs, but its first goal is to improve coordination among state agencies and how they interact with the public.


Piberman December 15, 2018 at 8:46 am

Looks like our Governor elect is following Mayor Rilling’s appointment of a previous “assistant” to Chief of Staff. One wonders whether the Governor’s new Chief will earn as much as Norwalk’s Chief. Given that the Norwalk’s Mayor is paid as much as Connecticut’s Governor and considerably more than the First Selectman of Greenwich, the State’s wealthiest City by far. Gov. Malloy had successes and failures but not having a Chief was not cited as a major deficiency. Maybe the day is dawning when every one of CT’s 162 cities and towns will have a “Chief” and CT will emerge from a decade of stagnant economy, employment aand population growth.

Gov. Lamont’s most notable appointment to date was the Finance Chief from Hartford, our Capitol City flirting with bankruptcy, as the State’s Chief Budget Officer. Following Gov. Malloy’s similar appointment of Stamford’s Chief Financial Officer. Both appointments were criticized on the grounds that CT needs a well recognized professional financial expert fully familiar with the complex State Budget. Many had expectations that Gov. Lamont, a successful business executive, would follow the dictum once in office of securing the most capable lieutenants available – standing on their shoulders. So far that expectation hasn’t been realized. Prof. Search seems to be a rarity in Hartford as it does in Norwalk.

Bryan Meek December 15, 2018 at 12:07 pm

The DRS which collects our revenues is rudderless making up new rules that violate the federal tax code in an attempt to subvert it. Tax season is going to be more complicated and costly than ever. Our revenue collection system needs stability and leaders with common sense. Appointing Malloy cronies to anything is akin to shuffling the deck chairs.

Ron Morris December 15, 2018 at 2:46 pm


All you do is seem to find fault with everything in CT and Norwalk. Please tell us what have you done to help improve the state or the city?????

Joe December 16, 2018 at 12:08 am

It’s crazy and unjustifiable to bankrupt a state of 3.5 million for the benefit of 54,000 pensioneers.

I’ll bet clawbacks and dramatic pension reform will eventually be court ordered in spite of dems.

Remember Detroit.

Steve December 16, 2018 at 6:35 am

Good to see the regular commentators can stay on point, article about a COO that quickly becomes about a 1000 other things that have at best little to do with the article

Alan December 16, 2018 at 8:52 am

Ron Morris, this state needs many more people like Piberman. “What have you done…” is a lame way of disagreeing with his point of view and observations.

Wineshine December 16, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Ron Morris, there’s just so much material!! When people refuse to speak out, we got more of the same. It’s not Piberman’s responsibility to “improve the state or city”. We go to the polls in November to vote for those who we believe will effect that positive change. Want to know the real issue? Voter apathy. voting for people who have the most warm fuzzy letter next to their names, or because, “he seems like a nice guy” doesn’t effect change. Maybe you’d help out by bringing to the publics’ attention that which is in need of change instead of ridiculing those who do.

Ron Morris December 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm

Alan and Wineshine
Thank you for your “opinion” However let me correct you as it is a citizens responsibility to improve the state or city when all they do is constantly complain and copy and paste the same old lines day after day on every article and on every site.. Also many times the same old copy and paste has ZERO to do with the article.

FYI the post was addressed to Piberman not Alan and Wineshine.

Jeffrey Hall December 17, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Ron Morris: Surely, whether you agree with Piberman’s opinions or not, his post was perfectly relevant to the story.

As for your comment that Piberman has done nothing to ” improve the state or city”, what are smoking? The *only* say that citizens have in gubernatorial appointments is to agree or disagree with them, or in Piberman’s case, to disagree with the behavior exhibited by the Governor when making appointments.

Ron Morris December 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm

The point is that Piberman posts the same copy and paste of false information on every article. I really don’t know why I am even responding to you as my original post was not to you.

Alan December 17, 2018 at 6:49 pm


On a positive note, Ferone has his days in court scheduled for his right to ruin a small neighborhood.
Good luck to the Lorusso’s!!

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