Brian Durand Keith M. Phaneuf /
Brian Durand makes remarks after being announced as chief of staff.
Brian Durand makes remarks after being announced as chief of staff. Keith M. Phaneuf /

Brian Durand of West Hartford, an original member of the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, was named Monday as the governor’s new chief of staff, succeeding Mark Ojakian, who is leaving after nearly five years in the post.

Durand, 34, who has been Ojakian’s deputy for nearly three years, has a longtime association with the governor, joining Malloy’s first, unsuccessful run for governor in 2006, shortly after Durand’s graduation from the University of Connecticut with a degree in political science.

“Brian Durand has been a trusted friend and adviser since I first began working with him in 2004,” said Malloy, who announced his selection Monday during a mid-morning press conference outside his Capitol office. “He has excelled at every challenge and task he has been presented with, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role as chief of staff for my administration.”

Durand worked for three years at Global Strategy Group, which provided communication strategy for Malloy’s victorious run in 2010, then joined the administration at the Office of Policy and Management. A less publicized entry in the Durand resume: a one-year gig at World Wrestling Entertainment.

Durand played a major role two years ago in the administration’s successful effort to legalize Sunday liquor sales in Connecticut, the governor said.

“I have been honored and privileged to work with Gov. Malloy for so many years,’ Durand said. “Whether it has been improving Connecticut’s economy, investing in transportation or reforming our criminal justice system, Gov. Malloy has always put Connecticut’s interest first.”

Durand cited the addition of about 80,000 private-sector jobs to the Connecticut economy since the Malloy administration began, but added, “There is still much work to be done.”

He will be Malloy’s third chief of staff, traditionally one of the most demanding jobs in state government. Timothy Bannon was chief for the first year, giving way to Ojakian, who was named last week as interim president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

“I felt he was ready to take on this challenge,” the governor said of Durand, adding that as deputy chief Durand has been a constant presence in all crucial staff meetings to develop administration policy.

Durand will earn $160,000 per year as chief of staff.

He and his wife, Katie, have two children.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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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