Tobin steps down from lucrative ASU gig after landing director job

Andy Tobin. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Someone besides Andy Tobin will have to help show newly elected legislators the ropes after the next election.

Tobin stepped down from his position as director of the Arizona Legislative Academy in late May after Gov. Doug Ducey appointed him to head up the Arizona Department of Administration.

The academy, which is run by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, was created to be a sort of orientation program for new lawmakers that teaches them about the dynamics of how the legislature works, issues facing the state and other things they’ll need to know at the Capitol. Tobin, who spent eight years in the House of Representatives, including three as speaker, taught the program.

At the start of the 2019 session, the Arizona Legislative Academy held a number of sessions for new lawmakers, including sessions on water policy, the economy and tribal issues, as well as a session with Ducey.

Some people were uncomfortable with Tobin’s role with the program, given his then-position as a member of the Corporation Commission, to which Ducey appointed him in late 2016. Others were critical of the fact that the program was funded by money raised from special interest groups with business at the legislature.

Donors included lobbying firms, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

Tobin was paid $100,000 annually by ASU, in addition to his $79,500 salary from the Corporation Commission. His salary to lead the Department of Administration is $195,000.

No state law barred Tobin from heading up the legislative academy while he served as a corporation commissioner, but the rules are different for state employees like agency directors. State personnel rules prohibit state employees from holding outside, secondary employment that is “not compatible with the full and proper discharge of the employee’s duties and responsibilities.”

The Morrison Institute has not yet selected someone to replace Tobin.

Jeremy Duda
Associate Editor Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”


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