New Dunleavy order increases power of his budget director

(Photo Courtesy Alaskans for Dunleavy)
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — A new executive order issued this week by Gov. Mike Dunleavy will consolidate power in his budget office through the transfer of officials in charge of travel and state contracts from almost all state departments.

The order doesn’t appear on the governor’s website of executive orders. But a copy, provided by a legislator, says 13 of the state’s 14 departments are required to immediately transfer their administrative services positions to the Office of Management and Budget.

The order was issued in the middle of the state’s response to Friday’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake and the resulting crisis it caused.

The OMB is headed by Donna Arduin, a Republican budget hawk described in her appointment as a “fixer” who heads the consulting firm of Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics. She moved to Juneau from the Lower 48 less than two weeks ago.

The order doesn’t apply to the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, the only one for which Dunleavy hasn’t announced a new commissioner or the reappointment of a previous one. A spokesman for Dunleavy said the department is being led by Robert Doehl, a retired air national guard colonel and a former staffer to Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, while the commissioner, Maj. Gen. Laurel Hummel, is on leave. The Alaska National Guard is a component of the department.

The Division of Administrative Services in one of the departments affected by the order — Administration, headed by newly appointed Commissioner Jonathan Quick — says it prepares the department’s budget, works with the Legislature, provides central procurement, runs computer and network services and manages public broadcasting grants and staff to the violent crimes compensation board.

The order says its purpose is to “streamline and increase accountability of budget and policy administration.”

In a prepared statement, Dunleavy said, “We are consolidating management of the budget under OMB to make the budgeting process more streamlined and efficient. Making this important change at the very beginning means we can improve the state’s education system, make Alaska safer, reduce state spending and bring jobs and investment back to Alaska.”

Dunleavy took the oath of office Dec. 3. He signed administrative order 302 two days later.

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