What Is A State Chief Operating Officer?

Friday, January 11th 2019, 9:33 am
By: Grant Hermes

Earlier this week, Governor-elect Kevin Stitt appointed former Sonic executive, John Budd to be the state’s new Chief Operating Officer and Secretary of Agency of Accountability. Both positions are new to the state.

But what does a state’s COO do?

“I get into all these gnarly things like performance management, IT management. Customer satisfaction management. Citizen management. All those kind of gnarly things,” Tennessee COO Greg Adams said speaking by Skype on Wednesday.

Adams has been COO of Tennessee since 2013.

He said his day is spent making sure things run smoothly, between the governor and his departments and between departments and the people who use their services.

“I want to make sure we're only doing something one time across the state,” he said.

COOs are often thought of as a Conveyors-in-Chief. Someone who relays information and streamlines government. It's a position that's growing in popularity across the country and one that often shows states mean business; often literally.

Adams describes the citizens who use state services as customers, similar to the way Stitt also talked about state agencies and Oklahomans in his announcement about Budd.

In a release, Stitt says Budd will be taking "a holistic look" at government "to meet today's modern demands."

Oklahoma and Tennessee are just two of nearly a dozen states to have this new kind of position. Most states say they've seen savings from streamlining government.

The two jobs in Oklahoma are so new there's no listed salary for either and it's unclear if Budd will be able to draw a salary from both positions or if he'll have to work one job for free.

What is clear is even before taking office, Kevin Stitt appears to be making a statement that under him the State of Oklahoma will look a little more like Oklahoma Incorporated.

The governor is allowed to pick his inner circle like the COO without approval, however for Budd to become Secretary of Agency Accountability, he will have to be confirmed by the Senate when session starts next month.