Former state Budget Director Mary Lassiter, who retired at the end of October, will reassume her old duties Feb. 1, Jay Blanton, communications director for Gov. Steve Beshear, confirmed Tuesday. Blanton said Lassiter currently is working for the governor on a voluntary basis. John Hicks has been acting budget director since Lassiter's retirement.
Lassiter, a state employee for 25 years before retiring, returns at a time the state faces yet another budget crisis. Beshear is putting together a plan for dealing with a projected $456.1 million revenue shortfall in this year's budget. He has said he will reveal that plan, which is expected to include a proposed increase in the cigarette tax, later this week.
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No doubt, the administration will take some flak for rehiring Lassiter because of its "double dipping" aspect.
But count me among those who think that double dipping can save the state money in such areas as health insurance and often allowed the government, and the people it serves, to benefit from the valuable experience a retiree can bring to the job.
Lassiter, who was widely respected by members of both parties in the legislature, certainly has valuable experience in dealing with budgetary matters.
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