Gov. Asa Hutchinson yesterday announced that former state representative Duncan Baird will be the new State Budget Administrator at the Department of Finance and Administration. Baird had been serving as Budget Director in the governor’s office.
Baird replaces Brandon Sharp, who was fired from the $101,000-a-year position last month; no official reason has been given for Sharp’s termination, but FOI’d documents revealed previous interactions with supervisors regarding alleged incidents of sexual harassment, as well as an “incident report” regarding him from the State Parks and Tourism Department and the state Game and Fish Commission. (In a statement to the D-G, Sharp denied any wrongdoing and said that the incident report regarded a citation for a boating DWI, a pending charge he hoped to clear.)
Baird has a degree in finance and accounting and has worked as a licensed securities trader for Arvest Bank. While in the legislature, he served as co-chair of the Joint Budget Committee and developed a strong reputation for ethics and transparency. He was one of the few who, on his own, abided by the “Walmart rule” for legislators, declining to take any freebies from lobbyists, not even a cup of coffee. He’s widely regarded as competent and squeaky clean on both sides of the aisle. But he made some enemies with his support for the private option, and when he ran for Treasurer, lost in the primary to a dude who’s…a bit less qualified.
Full press release from the governor’s office after the jump.
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced that Duncan Baird will fill the position of State Budget Administrator at the Department of Finance and Administration.
“I appreciate Duncan’s work as we crafted our first budget and worked with the legislature to enact it into law,” Hutchinson said. “In his new role, he’ll continue to play a critical part in both the budget process and our efforts to reform state government.”
“Duncan’s experience as Budget Director and his previous work with the budget as a legislator make him a great fit for this position,” said Larry Walther, Director of the Department of Finance and Administration.
“It’s been an honor to be a part of the Governor’s staff through the transition and the Regular Session,” Baird said. “I look forward to the opportunity to put my budget experience to work as part of the team at DFA.”
Baird was as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2009 until he was term-limited in 2015, where he served as the House chairman of the Joint Budget Committee. Before being elected to the legislature, Baird was in the investment industry, working as a licensed securities trader for Arvest bank in Northwest Arkansas. He holds a degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Arkansas.