Georgia budget director, Kelly Farr, leaving for private-sector job

The state’s chief financial officer and director of Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget office is leaving for a private-sector job with a Connecticut technology company that does public-sector work.

Kelly Farr is heading to ReFrame Solutions to work as the company’s chief strategy officer, the firm announced Wednesday.

Farr has run Kemp’s budget office since the governor took office in 2019 and helped steer the state through dicey fiscal times at first. In his first year, Kemp worried a recession was ahead, so he told state agencies to make spending cuts that riled prominent lawmakers. The next year, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the state feared a massive drop in tax revenue, and lawmakers cut billions of dollars more in spending in June 2020.

However, the state’s economy quickly rebounded, and the government saw record income and sales tax collections and massive surpluses the past two years. About a month ago, the state began sending out income tax rebates for the second consecutive year.

Revenue growth has slowed — with a big dip in April — but the state may end fiscal 2023 this month with another surplus.

More recently, Farr was left to explain why the governor put a hold on more than $200 million in spending approved by lawmakers, including many line items near and dear to General Assembly leaders. The move was not popular with legislators.

Kemp was previously Georgia’s secretary of state, and Farr served as one of his chief deputies. Farr also has held business and technology positions at several companies, including Lucent Technologies, PCC Technologies and the SAS Institute. PCC and SAS are state contractors, according to state records.

Farr will leave his state job at the end of June.

Kemp said, “From his time as deputy secretary of state to his position on my first transition team and throughout his years as director of the Office of Planning and Budget, Kelly has prioritized the financial well-being of Georgia and our responsibilities to its citizens.

“The state benefited from the reliable expertise he brought from the private sector that helped him improve the quality and efficiency of government services while using technology to realize savings for the taxpayer.”

ReFrame says it “offers technology products that enhance customer engagement, public housing, enterprise solutions and critical modernization.”

As an example of the company’s work, the Arkansas secretary of state’s office last year announced it picked the company to create a new campaign-finance reporting system.