AUGUSTA – The architect of a just-under-way effort to dismantle the State Planning Office has announced his resignation and intention to return to the private sector.

This is Darryl Brown’s second abrupt departure from a state government post in 2011: He was first appointed by Gov. Paul LePage to lead the state Department of Environmental Protection, but could not serve because of a state conflict-of-interest law. He resigned in April, and on the same day LePage appointed Brown the director of the State Planning Office, where his main job was to lead an effort to move the office functions to other parts of state government.

Last week, an advisory panel approved a final plan to eliminate some jobs — including the director, deputy director, a secretary and two public service executives — and move other jobs to different agencies.

“The work is finished,” Brown said in a Wednesday interview. “I’m going back to the private sector.”

But Brown said he won’t return to his company, Main-Land Development Consultants, which presented the conflict of interest that forced him to resign as DEP commissioner. He’s set to sell the company on Tuesday, and he’s looking for other work.

Brown left the DEP two months after environmental groups started raising questions about his eligibility to serve. The groups cited state and federal laws that prevent those who head agencies such as the DEP from earning at least 10 percent of their income from clients who receive federal Clean Water Act permits. Attorney General William Schneider asked Brown to produce documents from his clients in the previous two years to prove there was no conflict, but Brown could not do so because he felt if they became public, it would hurt the business.

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said Brown’s assignment at the planning office was meant to be short-lived.

“The governor is sad to see Darryl go,” Bennett said in a voice mail message. “But he was extremely impressed not only by his abilities, but his willingness to take on a task that was deemed short-term.”

Rep. Bradley Moulton, R-York, said other administration officials will have to shepherd the proposal through the Legislature next year. Although Moulton has long been a critic of the State Planning Office, he also has raised concerns about some elements of the restructuring plan.

The plan would save a projected $750,000, but most if not all of that money would be used to open a new government agency, the Office of Policy and Management.

House Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, said she was surprised that Brown didn’t see the plan through the Legislature, and that there are bound to be many questions about the plan to dismantle the office that’s been in place since 1968.

“Someone in the administration will have to answer those questions,” she said.

Brown, 66, is leaving a post that pays between $92,000 and $95,000 a year. He said he could have stayed in the position until July, when the office is expected to be eliminated if the changes are approved by the Legislature, but he felt his work was complete.

“Governor, I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to serve you in your administration,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “The challenges that this state and nation face are overwhelming. It is clear to me that you are the right person at the right time to be guiding our state back to prosperity.”

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Keith Edwards contributed to this report.

Contact MaineToday Media State House Writer Susan Cover at 620-7015 or at:

[email protected]