He was hired by Gov. Ned Lamont to streamline and modernize state government -- and then the pandemic hit and he was asked to do even more.
Josh Geballe has been responsible for procuring almost everything related to the pandemic – from masks to vaccines.
Insiders have also joked he’s been the governor’s go-to guy for tough questions during briefings. But behind the scenes, he’s been modernizing state government as retirements are mounting. His departure will weigh heavily on the state.
“It’s been a little like a war with all the incoming over this last couple of years,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.
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Lamont was referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you’re going to be in a fox hole, you want to be in a fox hole with Josh Geballe,” Lamont added. “He was the first guy I'd talk to at 6:30 in the morning and the last guy I'd talk to at 10:30 at night.”
Geballe, a former IBM executive, joined the administration as commissioner of administrative services soon after Lamont took office in 2019. The governor expanded his responsibilities a year later to include the role of chief operating officer.
“Time and time again we’ve seen people rise to the challenge and just do remarkable work at a time in the state when people were looking to state government to help them,” Geballe said.
Geballe is headed to Yale University to head of its entrepreneurship efforts.
“It’s something of a dream job for me, I think for the longer term,” Geballe said.
Lamont announced that Michelle Gilman, of Colchester, would take over as head of the Department of Administrative Services.
For the moment, the role of chief operating officer will remain vacant.
We asked Geballe whether he planned to run for elected office in the future and he didn’t rule it out completely but said he’s close to never on that question.