Governor-Elect Ned Lamont announced who will likely be the most trusted and consequential members of his administration.
Lamont named Ryan Drajewicz as his chief of staff and Melissa McCaw as secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.
They mark the first two appointments of the Lamont administration, a search he said was national but eventually brought him back to the local products.
“We’ve had hundreds of resumes come in,” Lamont said. “People who have served in government before and we need those people here.”
McCaw most recently served as chief financial officer for the City of Hartford, and she will have a much larger role running OPM, the agency that handles budget matters for the governor’s administration.
This will mark her second tour with the agency. She worked at OPM when she finished her studies at Wesleyan University.
McCaw says her recent experience dealing with budget issues in Hartford on everything from spending to labor contracts will serve her well in the Lamont administration.
“I look forward to leading this process, to completing the budget in the coming months and to ultimately achieving the governor-elect’s vision for a budget and a policy plan that is balanced and addresses Connecticut’s fiscal crisis,” she said.
She will be in charge of a budget writing process that will have address a nearly $2 billion deficit in the next fiscal year, even as the state is currently projecting a modest surplus of $250 million.
“I like the fact that Melissa has been on the front lines. She’s battle hardened,” Lamont said during the press conference making the introduction at the State Capitol. “She’s been through some really tough times and we have some tough times here in Connecticut when it comes to making the decisions we need going forward. I think she’ll be the perfect choice to get us through this.”
Lamont tapped Ryan Drajewicz as his chief of staff, the person who works alongside the governor, managing Lamont’s priorities on a day-to-day basis, and the overall operations of the governor’s office.
Drajewicz is a Connecticut native, born in Middletown, he worked for ten years under U.S. Senator Chris Dodd.
For the past several years, Drajewicz has worked as an executive for Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, which is based in Westport.
His private sector experience could lead to him being one of the main voices for the administration when speaking directly with major employers.
“This will be an office of the governor with a new energy, an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity,” Drajewicz said. “This is a new chapter for Connecticut and we are going to do things differently.”