A former Baldacci administration official working for the University of Maine System has been named the interim vice president for administration and finance at the Orono campus.
Ryan Low, the system’s executive director of governmental and external affairs, will begin the one-year appointment on Sept. 2. A search for a permanent hire will begin in the spring.
Low served as commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services during the Baldacci administration. He also was Gov. John Baldacci’s deputy chief of staff, state budget officer and associate commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services.
He joined the university system office in 2012 after two years as vice president of administration and chief financial officer at UMaine Farmington.
Low will continue to be involved in UMS legislative affairs in his new role, Chancellor James Page said Friday. The upcoming legislative session is considered critical because of the university system’s budget woes. The latest system budget of $529 million required $11.4 million in emergency funds to close a $36 million deficit that officials said was caused by flat state funding, declining enrollment and tuition freezes.
Officials are now looking to increase state funding, and possibly increase tuition.
Low has played a key role with the Legislature, and Page said he is also bringing back former lawmaker and Low’s predecessor, John Lisnik, to assist with the upcoming legislative session.
Lisnik, who continued to work part time for the university system after retiring in 2011, will be a temporary employee. His salary has not been determined, Page said.
At Orono, Low replaces Judy Ryan, who was named to the position on a temporary basis earlier this year. She replaced Janet Waldron, who left in April to join the University of North Texas System.
Low will be paid $165,000 a year, up from his current $125,000 and slightly less than Waldron’s $170,000.
“Ryan is well-grounded in large enterprise and public finances, and has a solid understanding of the budget challenges at UMaine and the University of Maine System,” UMaine President Susan Hunter said in a statement. “He also has played an important role in Augusta, effectively working across the aisle to advocate for public higher education issues in Maine.”
From 1997 to 2002, Low worked in the Legislature, serving as chief of staff for the House speaker and majority leader.
Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at: