State Watch

National Governors Association chief exits amid staff turmoil

The chief executive of the National Governors Association (NGA) has been forced out of his job amid growing staff displeasure over how he managed one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington.
Scott Pattison, who led the organization for the last 3 1/2 years, is out as its executive director, NGA’s chairman and vice chairman said in a staff email Thursday night.
{mosads}In the email, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Pattison had decided to resign “due to urgent and unexpected family obligations.” They said they would hold an all-staff meeting next week to discuss what they called a reorganization.
Several sources familiar with Pattison’s departure said governors had been unhappy with what they called a disorganized annual conference the NGA held in February in Washington. Some top staffers have left in recent months after clashing with the group’s top leaders.
Pattison could not be immediately reached for comment. An NGA spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment.
Pattison has been replaced on an interim basis by Nikki Guilford, a longtime NGA executive who directs the Office of Management Consulting and Training. Guilford is the NGA’s chief liaison to governors’ chiefs of staff.
Any new NGA executive director must be approved by the group’s executive committee, a bipartisan panel of four Democrats and five Republicans. Bullock holds the chairmanship this year; he will be replaced next year by Hogan, the current vice chair.
The governors of Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah hold the other voting seats on the NGA board.
Pattison came to the NGA after more than a decade leading the National Association of State Budget Officers. He had previously worked at the Federal Trade Commission before moving to the National Consumer Coalition.
Tags National Governors Association

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