Gov. Dannel P. Malloy named the head of the state Board of Accountancy, David L. Guay, on Thursday to serve as the first executive administrator of Connecticut’s new unified watchdog agency.

Guay, a South Windsor resident and executive director of the accountancy board since 1989, was one of three finalists recommended in late July by the nine division heads within the new Office of Governmental Accountability.

Guay, who was sent his appointment letter on Thursday, could not be reached for comment.

As executive administrator, Guay will be tasked with overseeing the business and administrative support functions for the Freedom of Information Commission, the Office of State Ethics, the Elections Enforcement Commission and six other watchdog groups.

The legislature and Malloy created the unified agency this spring as one part of a much larger plan to close one of the largest budget deficit’s in  state history.

And while the plan calls for the administrator to help these watchdog groups meet their business needs, it also guarantees each division will have autonomy over the watchdog function in provides.

The Board of Accountancy was a small regulatory and licensing agency with an annual budget of less than $384,000 and five employees before being merged this year with the Secretary of the State’s Office. Before assuming the top post at the accountancy board 22 years ago, Guay been director of election campaign finance services when that program was located within the secretary’s office in the late 1980s.

Besides the FOIC, ethics and elections enforcement divisions, other watchdog groups in the new merged agency include: the Office of the Victim Advocate, the Office of the Child Advocate, the Judicial Selection Commission, the Judicial Review Council, the State Contracting Standards Board and the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners.

A panel comprised of the heads of the nine divisions was empowered by the legislature to interview and recommend three finalists to the governor for the executive administrator’s post. The Governmental Accountability Commission also will have authority to evaluate the administrator.

The other two finalists recommended for the job by the commission were: Mitchell W. Pearlman of Glastonbury who retired in 2005 after 30 years with the Freedom of Information Commission and 28 years as its executive director; and Nancy L. Hadley of Bridgeport, who served as Department of Motor Vehicles Commission from 1993 to 1995 and as deputy commissioner of Transportation from 1991 to 1993 under then-Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr.

Pearlman, who criticized Malloy and the legislature for merging the watchdog groups, had pledged to forgo a salary if given the job.

The approved annual pay range for the job runs from $95,463 to $145,684.

Pearlman had called the merger plan “a disaster” for the state’s right-to-know program. That merger would threaten the independence the agency needs to evaluate right-to-know compliance among all of state and municipal government in Connecticut, he argued.

The former FOIC chief said in his July 29 interview that he was applying to run the new merged entity only because he wants to mitigate any damage the merger could do to the respective missions of the watchdog agencies. “I really don’t want the job,” he said.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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