Kadish brings old ties to Baker to chief of staff post

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 17, 2014…..Governor-elect Charlie Baker, in his hiring of Northeastern University’s Steven Kadish as chief of staff, has turned to a man with a lengthy resume who worked under him in both government and the private sector.

Kadish, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Northeastern, has agreed to leave academia to become Baker’s top aide and advisor in the Corner Office. His career has criss-crossed with Baker’s multiple times over the past two decades as he has worked for Baker both in the Weld administration and at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

“I am honored to serve Governor-elect Baker as well as the people of the Massachusetts and I look forward to carrying out the Governor-elect’s ambitious vision for a prosperous, thriving Commonwealth,” Kadish said in a statement release through the Baker team. “Matching the next governor’s enthusiasm, experience and drive will not be easy, but as the transition process moves forward, I know Baker’s team will be ready to hit the ground running in January.”

Baker announced Kadish’s appointment Monday afternoon, filling the third major slot of his still forming Cabinet and senior staff. Earlier in the day, Baker named Shrewsbury state Rep. Matthew Beaton as energy and environmental affairs secretary. He has also tapped Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash to become secretary of housing and economic development.

At Northeastern, Kadish oversees human resources, campus planning, enterprise risk management, procurement, public safety and other departments. He has also held executive positions at Dartmouth College and UMass Medical School, and worked as senior vice president for administration and project management under Baker at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care when the governor-elect led the company as CEO.

In addition to his private sector experience, Kadish worked under Baker in the mid-1990s as assistant secretary of administration and finance in the administration of former Gov. William Weld when Baker was secretary.

Kadish also worked under former Gov. Mitt Romney as undersecretary of health and human services, and has held positions in state government working in the Division of Medicaid and as deputy director of mental health projects for the former Division of Capital Planning and Operations.

Before taking on roles in state government, Kadish in the late 1980s worked as legislative director for MASSPIRG, pushing bills to expand the state’s bottle redemption law in 1987 to include wine coolers and to tax the purchase of toxic chemicals by major industrial companies to encourage manufacturers to slowly phase out their use of toxic materials

During the campaign, Baker opposed a ballot question to expand the bottle bill to include plastic water bottles and sports drinks, calling the proposed bottle bill expansion a “money grab” by the state.

“There are no litmus tests to work in the Baker administration,” spokesman Tim Buckley said.

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

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