by Brian Weberg
David Bowie said it in his classic song Changes, "Oh, look out you rock n' rollers, soon you're gonna get a little older." And so it is in state legislatures, too, that the wave of veteran departures and entry of new faces continues.
Nevada recently announced that Richard Combs will become the new director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, replacing 18-year incumbent Lorne Malkiewich who announced his retirement from the LCB last year. Combs is an internal promotion, coming from the LCB's fiscal division where he has worked since 1994.
David Ferguson's retirement from Arkansas' Bureau of Legislative Research will be effective on July 1. Ferguson is a 32-year veteran of the BLR and has been its director since 2007. In his letter announcing his retirement, Ferguson wrote, “The expertise and institutional knowledge of bureau employees and their avoidance of even the appearance of partisanship or favoritism have become especially important in this era of term limits, where there is significant turnover in legislative membership every two years and where institutional knowledge is at a premium.”
Russ Larson, Delaware's State Controller and director of the Office of the Controller General since 1996 retires this summer. Larson's agency is equivalent to the joint fiscal staffs in many other legislatures. Larson was active with NCSL and served as its staff chair in 1996-97. He will be succeeded on July 1 by the current deputy controller, Michael Morton.
There are big shoes to fill in Texas, too, with the retiremment of John O'Brien, director of the staff to the powerful Texas State Budget Board. O'Brien held that position first as acting director in 2004 and then became director in 2006. He, too, was a familiar face at NCSL and served as chair of NCSL's National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices. His deputy director, Ursula Parks, takes the helm as the Board's new director.
Rock on, everyone.