NEW: Governor’s appointments director to depart

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Scott Allegrucci will be leaving one of the most influential roles in state government later this week when he steps down as appointments director for Gov. Laura Kelly.

Allegrucci’s last day on the governor’s staff will be Friday, a spokesman for the governor confirmed. It was immediately unknown who will replace him.

Allegrucci said he is leaving to take a senior strategic role for a private company outside of government and politics that was started by a longtime friend.

“Very difficult decision to leave,” Allegrucci said in a text. “Mostly related to my role as a father and to be in a better position, with more time and flexibility, to support my son.”

Allegrucci held one of the plum positions of state government, dealing out appointments to the many people who make up the Kelly administration as well as the hundreds of people who serve on many state boards and commissions.

He, along with general counsel Clay Britton, was one of the governor’s earliest appointments after she took office although many of those early staffers have departed for other jobs over the years.

Allegrucci brought a broad liberal arts resume to state government with a background in acting and the arts that included production roles on several television series as well as producing the inagurations for former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

During his time as appointments director, Kelly appointed three state Supreme Court justices although the Senate voted down two nominees to the Kansas Court of Appeals, including one candidate whose nomination was derailed by social media posts.

As appointments director, the Kelly administration put Jacy Hurst, the first woman of color on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

However, there were other setbacks and close calls some of which could be traced to politics, including Lt. Gov. David Toland’s tough fight to get nominated as Commerce secretary.

The Senate refused to confirm the governor’s nomination to Board of Tax Appeals last session because of questions about whether he already had a defined opinion about how property should be appraised.

And the chamber also refused to nominate the governor’s nominee to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.

A fixture in Democratic politics, Allegrucci came to the governor’s office after managing Democrat Brian McClendon’s unsuccessful campaign for secretary of state in 2018.

The McClendon campaign, with Allegrucci at the helm, raised a historic sum of money for a Kansas secretary of state’s race, pulling in more than $1 million.

He previously worked as the senior development and communications officer for the Land Institute, a nonprofit research, education and policy organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture.

He spent a short time as consultant with the Kansas Values Institute, a dark money group that backs Democratic candidates in Kansas.

Allegrucci also had been involved in a number of environmental campaigns over the years, including the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign that was intended to help drive the transition from coal to clean energy.

He worked as executive director of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy, a nonprofit group created to fight Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s plans to build a coal-fired power plant near Holcomb in Finney County.

In the early 2000s, Allegrucci was  director of the Tourism Development Division in the Kansas Department of Commerce during former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius administration.

He has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Colorado College. He also studied biology at Pittsburg State for a couple of years in the 1980s.