Neil Steininger, then-Administrative Services Director for the Office of Management and Budget, explains how the office performs “sweeps” of unspent money in various government accounts during a Senate Finance meeting at the Capitol in July 2019. Gov. Mike Dunleavy Monday named Steininger director of OMB. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Neil Steininger, then-Administrative Services Director for the Office of Management and Budget, explains how the office performs “sweeps” of unspent money in various government accounts during a Senate Finance meeting at the Capitol in July 2019. Gov. Mike Dunleavy Monday named Steininger director of OMB. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

‘He’s not Donna Arduin’: New OMB director comes with in-state experience

Gov. Dunleavy appointed him today.

The Legislature’s new session will be joined by a new Office of Management and Budget director.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Monday named Neil Steininger director of OMB, which will be effective as of Tuesday, the first day of the Legislature’s session.

Steininger is a lifelong Alaskan and has had multiple roles at the office responsible for prepare the annual capital and operating budgets over the past five years, according to the governor’s office. Those include serving as budget analyst, chief budget analyst, and as the Administrative Services Director for the Department of Education and Early Development.

“Governor Dunleavy believes Mr. Steininger’s experience and reputation in finance and state government made him an excellent choice to run the Office of Management and Budget,” said Dunleavy spokesperson Jeff Turner in an email. “As a current OMB employee, he also has the institutional knowledge and relationships with its staff, administration officials and legislators to lead the department through the challenges of creating a sustainable and affordable state budget.”

That experience is a contrast to Donna Arduin, who Dunleavy named OMB director in late 2018.

[Budget director’s history of cutting with ‘hatchet, not a scalpel’ sparks concern]

Arduin, who stepped down in September 2019, did not have experience in Alaska, but she did have a track record of helping to lead budget-cutting efforts in multiple states, which made her a divisive figure almost immediately. In October 2019, Amanda Holland was named interim OMB director, and according to the governor’s office, Holland will continue with OMB to “ensure a smooth transition.”

Sen. Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, was one of several Democratic lawmakers that signed a February 2019 letter questioning Arduin’s connections to private prisons and is critical of the former OMB director.

He said he does not know Steininger especially well but is looking forward to working with him.

“At least he (Steininger) has some familiarity with state government,” Begich said. “He’s not Donna Arduin, which is another plus.”

[State’s budget director Arduin is out]

• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

More in News

This photo shows the National Archives in the Sand Point neighborhood of Seattle that has about a million boxes of generally unique, original source documents and public records. In an announcement made Thursday, April 8, 2021, the Biden administration has halted the sale of the federal archives building in Seattle, following months of opposition from people across the Pacific Northwest and a lawsuit by the Washington Attorney General's Office. Among the records at the center are tribal, military, land, court, tax and census documents. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)
Biden halts sale of National Archives center in Seattle

Tribes and members of Congress pushed for the halt.

This photo shows Unangax̂ Gravesite at Funter Bay, the site where Aleut villagers forcibly relocated to the area during World War II are buried. A bill recently passed by the Alaska House of Representatives would make the area part of a neighboring state park. (Courtesy photo / Niko Sanguinetti, Juneau-Douglas City Museum) 
DO NOT REUSE THIS PHOTO WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM JUNEAU DOUGLAS CITY MUSEUM. -BEN HOHENSTATT
Bill to preserve Unangax̂ Gravesite passes House

Bill now heads to the state Senate.

After over 30 years at 3100 Channel Drive, the Juneau Empire offices are on the move. (Ben Hohenstatt /Juneau Empire File)
The Juneau Empire is on the move

Advertising and editorial staff are moving to Jordan Creek Center.

The state announced this week that studded tires will be allowed for longer than usual. In Southeast Alaska, studded tires will be allowed until May 1 instead of April 15. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)
State extends studded tire deadline

Prolonged wintry weather triggers the change.

COVID at a glance for Friay, April 9

The most recent state and local numbers.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Court sides with Dunleavy in appointments dispute

The court, in a brief order, reversed a ruling by a superior court judge.

The Juneau Police Department are seeking Brenda Jay Gallant, 40, after she was indicted recently for her alleged role in a 2021 vehicle arson. (Courtesy photo / JPD)
Police seeking woman indicted for arson

The indictment for the August fire came this March.

Police calls for Friday, April 9, 2021

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read