State job: Commissioner, Department of Administration and Financial Services
University of Maine System job: Vice president, administration and finance, University of Maine at Farmington
Date of appointment: May 2010
Job advertised: No
Job search: No
Approved by: System Board of Trustees
Education requirements: None were listed in the job description. The previous chief financial officer had a Masters in Business Administration.
His degree: BA, political science
His comment: Low said his experience and success in overseeing the state budget in two positions over six years more than makes up for not having the usual finance or accounting degrees. “I had a key role in that many billion dollar state budgets, so I’m probably qualified to manage the $40 million budget at Farmington,” he said.
System comment: UMF justified a waiver for a posting and search on the basis that there was an emergency situation from the resignation of the previous financial chief and from an upcoming reorganization of the university. UMF President Theo Kalikow said “reorganization” was what she called her plan to retire in 2012. She said Low was qualified despite his lack of formal training in finance because he had run the state’s billion-dollar budget. “We knew the Baldacci administration was coming to an end and people would be looking for their next gig,” said Kalikow, and Low, a popular Farmington alum, was “our guy.”
Background: Low got his start in state government on the political side as chief of staff for the Democratic House leadership. Republican Gov. Paul LePage appointed him to his team to ease the transition from the Baldacci era and help with his budget when his own budget chief was out on medical leave. When Low’s interim position at Farmington was about to expire, he applied for and got a permanent job as the system’s chief lobbyist after a search limited to internal candidates. That job pays $125,000.
Disclaimer: President Kalikow has been a donor to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.