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Snyder aide moved off controversial fund, onto government payroll

Photo courtesy of the Snyder administration.

An advisor to Governor Rick Snyder has been moved to the state government payroll and off a fund paid for by anonymous private donors.

The arrangement was both unusual and controversial. Richard Baird has an office very close to the governor’s and the job title “transformation manager.”

Until Wednesday, Baird was paid out of the governor’s private so-called NERD Fund. Critics said that could hide conflicts of interest. So now, Baird is on the public payroll.

The governor’s office says – and this is new – the payment arrangement was a temporary measure to avoid running afoul of an agreement with Baird’s prior employer.

The governor says he uses the NERD Fund to pay expenses that shouldn’t have to be picked up by taxpayers. But now the future of the fund is up in the air. The governor’s office says its fate is in the final stages of a review.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.