Governor makes staffing changes

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(Updated to correct Graham’s title at Kansas lottery)

Tim Graham is leaving the governor’s office as director of governmental affairs in a staff reshuffling in which the former head of the Recovery Office will be promoted to oversee government affairs and constituent services.

Graham, once a longtime top aide to former Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, has been in the governor’s office since 2019 after starting with Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration as deputy director at the Kansas Lottery.

Tim Graham

He is the second major departure from the governor’s office in recent months.

Scott Allegrucci left as appointments director in September to take a senior strategic role for a private company outside of government and politics that was started by a longtime friend.

Graham left the governor’s office to lobby for the Kansas National Education Association.

In recent months, the governor’s office has added Zach Vincent as a deputy director of governmental affairs.

He had previously worked for the Lincoln Project, a political action committee formed in late 2019 by former and incumbent Republicans who worked to defeat former President Donald Trump. His role is unchanged.

Shelbie Konkel

Meanwhile, senior adviser Shelbie Konkel will now oversee the departments of government affairs, appointments and constituent services for the governor.

Konkel first joined the Kelly administration in November 2018 as chief of staff to then-Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers, where she led efforts to establish the Office of Rural Prosperity and coordinated the External Affairs Division for the governor’s office.

In the summer of 2020, Konkel was named deputy executive director of the Recovery Office, which at the time was charged with overseeing a task force allocating $1.25 billion in discretionary federal COVID-19 relief funding.

She has worked as Kelly’s senior adviser, coordinating external affairs. She will now be senior adviser for federal and state affairs.

Konkel previously worked as the finance director for Paul Davis’ unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2018 and director of special projects and finance for the Kansas Democratic Party.

She also worked as the legislative director for Hensley in 2015 and 2016. She worked as deputy finance director for Davis’ campaign for governor in 2014.

Konkel is a 2014 graduate of Washburn University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and government.