Arlinghaus pledges to cut ties with free market think tank if confirmed

Monitor staff
Published: 5/10/2017 8:41:40 PM

Charlie Arlinghaus pledged in a hearing Wednesday to cut ties with the free market think tank he has led for more than a decade if confirmed as the state’s Administrative Services Commissioner.

“I don’t think you can be commissioner of any agency in state government and have ties with an outside group,” he told the five Executive Councilors at a public hearing on his nomination.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu recently tapped Arlinghaus to lead the department that oversees state personnel, finances and facilities. Though rarely in the spotlight, the Department of Administrative Services is overseeing a number of key projects including the state’s transition away from Concord Steam, the completion of the new women’s prison and management of the state’s retiree health plan.

Arlinghaus said he would run the department impartially and prioritize government transparency. Facing council questions, Arlinghaus admitted he lacks experience managing a big organization, but said he is qualified for the job, a sentiment echoed by department heads and lawmakers who testified on his behalf.

“He is very smart and a quick study,” said John Beardmore, commissioner of the Department of Revenue Administration. “He knows the lay of the land, but does not have an insider’s bias.”

Arlinghaus is best known for leading the conservative Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, which advocates smaller government and a free-market approach. He was named Sununu’s budget director in January and took a leave of absence from the center, which he said would become permanent if he is confirmed.

Dealing with retiree health care, Arlinghaus said he favors an approach that splits soaring costs between the state and former workers. He said he doesn’t anticipate “pushing privatization.”

The Republican-led council will vote at a later date. Vicki Quiram recently announced she would step down as head of Administrative Services to take another job in California.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or amorris@cmonitor.com)




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