Healey taps Matthew Gorzkowicz for state budget chief
Administration and finance pick is longtime government ‘policy wonk’
GOV.-ELECT MAURA HEALEY made her first cabinet pick Tuesday, announcing that longtime government finance expert Matthew Gorzkowicz will serve as her secretary of administration and finance.
Gorzkowicz, a Democrat, was undersecretary of administration and finance under Gov. Deval Patrick, the last Democrat to hold the corner office.
“This is going to be a dynamic and effective administration, and I’m proud to contribute my experience in state finance and budgeting to serve the Commonwealth,” Gorzkowicz said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to getting to work on a number of important priorities that center on equity and affordability and drive progress across the administration.”
Healey’s decision to pick her secretary of administration and finance first likely reflects the centrality of the role to state government, since the department controls the state’s finances and spending. It also reflects the practical need for the secretary to hit the ground running, since Healey’s first state budget proposal will be due March 1, less than two months after she takes office. Healey has said one of her initial focuses will be working with the Legislature on tax relief, and Gorzkowicz would presumably take a lead role in that area.
As Healey enters office, state finances are strong, with surplus tax revenues and an influx of federal COVID recovery money, in addition to a newly passed tax hike on income over $1 million. But Healey will also take the reins of state government at a time when the state is facing enormous workforce challenges amid a nationwide labor shortage, and as residents are struggling with high costs and inflation.
“In this time of record state revenues and economic stress for so many of our residents, it’s essential to have an Administration and Finance secretary with a proven record of maintaining economic stability and implementing processes that ensure efficiency and effectiveness,” Healey said in a statement. “Matt Gorzkowicz has done just that in his decades of service to Massachusetts, and I’m proud to have his leadership in our administration.”
According to a biography provided by Healey’s transition team, Gorzkowicz spent more than a decade as associate vice president for administration and finance at the University of Massachusetts president’s office, where he managed the university’s $3.8 billion operating budget. In addition to working as one of Patrick’s top budget officials, Gorzkowicz has also worked for the Massachusetts Senate, the Department of Mental Health, and the School Building Authority. He has more than 25 years’ experience in state finance and budgeting.
Gorzkowicz is a graduate of Northeastern University and lives in Winthrop with his wife and two children.
UMass President Marty Meehan described Gorzkowicz as a “policy wonk” rather than a political player, and “a consummate professional.”
“Matt’s very strategic, he’s competent, and he has the highest integrity,” Meehan said. Meehan said Gorzkowicz helped the university earn a national reputation for fiscal management. He said he has the ability to set budgets with strategic goals in mind.
Jay Gonzalez, who served as Patrick’s secretary of administration and finance when Gorzkowicz was undersecretary, described him as someone who will be able to “hit the ground running.”
“I’m 100 percent confident he’s going to be able to help the governor-elect and lieutenant-governor elect deliver on their agenda for an affordable, equitable Commonwealth and do it in a fiscally responsible way,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said a good secretary knows how the state budget works and how the agencies work that support state government in areas like human resources and building infrastructure. Gorzkowicz, he said, understands all that.
Gonzalez said Gorzkowicz is also someone who can be “creative and innovative” in finding fiscally responsible ways to make investments and move the state forward. During his time in the Patrick administration, Gonzalez said Gorzkowicz instituted a performance management system across state government in which agencies were required to track their performance. He was involved in putting all state spending online and making it publicly available.
Katherine Craven, chief administrative and financial officer for Babson College, first met Gorzkowicz when he was a Senate Ways and Means budget analyst and she held the same role in the House. She would go on to hire him when she was running the Massachusetts School Building Authority, then encourage him to come to UMass when she was leading their building authority.
“Matt always impressed me with his financial acumen, his calm and kind temperament, and his compassion for constituencies,” Craven said. “They were more than numbers for him.”Healey’s two top staff picks are coming with her from senior roles in the attorney general’s office. Cook is first assistant attorney general. Before that, she was in private practice at Sugarman Rogers, where she chaired the government law and election law practice groups and had a pro bono practice focused on civil rights. Cook was formerly Patrick’s chief legal counsel and has also worked as an attorney for the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee and the City of Boston.
Viator is Healey’s chief deputy attorney general and was previously Healey’s chief of staff and senior policy advisor. Before that, she did commercial litigation as an associate at Ropes & Gray and worked as a legislative director in the state Senate and a legislative aide in the Massachusetts House.