Less than a month after Gov. Doug Ducey’s second-in-command resigned from his position, he returned to working for the governor in another capacity.
Ducey’s former chief of staff Kirk Adams is consulting for the Governor’s Office on water and gaming issues, including helping Arizona on the Drought Contingency Plan and negotiating the state’s gaming compacts with the tribes.
The Governor’s Office signed Adams to a three-month contract, for which he will be paid $4,500 to cover his expenses, according to a copy of the contract obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times. Adams received an annual salary of $169,950 a year as Ducey’s chief of staff.
The contract finalized on Jan. 22 extends retroactively to cover the period from Jan. 7 to April 7.
Ducey said Adams was moving the ball forward on water and gaming issues prior to his departure on Dec. 14. Adams’ expertise in those policy areas was not easily replaceable, Ducey told the Capitol Times on Jan. 22.
“We think this is a good use of resources,” he said.
But some have been critical of Ducey’s hiring decision.
Adams has a wealth of experience on dense policy issues, but Ducey should have retained him in a staff position rather than a consulting position because government employees are held to higher transparency standards than consultants, said Diane Brown, executive director of Arizona Public Interest Research Group — an open-government advocacy group.
“When there’s a revolving door between a government employee and a consultant or other position, oftentimes, the average taxpayer loses out in a financial manner,” she said.
And at least one Republican lawmaker has questioned whether Adams will be working as a lobbyist in his consulting capacity. In a recent committee hearing, Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, raised concerns about Adams lobbying in light of a 2016 executive order from Ducey that ended all state contracts with lobbyists working for various boards and agencies.
Citing a one-year lobbying ban for former elected officials and public employees, Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey’s current chief of staff, said Adams is not lobbying for the Governor’s Office. Adams’ contract with the Governor’s Office also spells out in writing that he cannot lobby for Ducey.
Adams did not respond to a request for comment.
Adams’ contract also stipulates he will be required to submit invoices to the Governor’s Office detailing his work. He will not receive government benefits during his consulting stint, and the agreement doesn’t specifically mention anything about contract extensions.
Adams signed the contract as a contractor through Consilium Consulting, which he formed as a limited liability company on Dec. 21, 2018.