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Governor Phil Scott Makes Two Key Leadership Appointments

November 1, 2023

Berlin, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of Sarah Clark, of Waterbury, as deputy secretary of the Agency of Administration and Alex Farrell, of South Burlington, as commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Farrell replaces former commissioner Josh Hanford, who left state government last month, and Clark replaces Doug Farnham, who was appointed Chief Recovery Officer in response to this summer’s floods.

Sarah Clark, deputy secretary of the Agency of Administration

Clark has served the State of Vermont for almost 20 years as a leader in budget and financial management, most recently as the deputy fiscal officer of the legislative Joint Fiscal Office. She has also served as chief financial officer of the Agency of Human Services, deputy commissioner of the Department of Finance & Management and interim commissioner of the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation. 

“Sarah continues to demonstrate a deep commitment to public service, and her extensive budgeting and management experience in both the legislative and executive branches make her a perfect fit for this critical role,” said Governor Scott. “I look forward to working with her, and appreciate her willingness to join the Agency of Administration.”

“Growing up in Vermont, I have a deep appreciation for the beauty and uniqueness of this state,” said Clark. “I am honored to serve Governor Scott and Vermonters in this role as the deputy secretary of Administration. I care greatly for responsible budgeting and financial management and look forward to working with colleagues within the Agency of Administration and across state government.”

The Agency of Administration is comprised of the Office of the Secretary, central office divisions and departments that provide administrative and supportive services to all Vermont state government agencies and departments, as well as Vermont taxpayers. With primary responsibilities related to human resources, revenues, accounting and budget management, physical plant, and contracting and general services, the Agency promotes the effective and efficient coordination of state programs and services by responding to changing administrative, policy and fiscal environments, while ensuring transparency and accountability of and value for public tax dollars.

Alex Farrell, commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development

Farrell has served as deputy commissioner of the Department since June of 2021. He previously served as chair of Vermont’s Real Estate Commission, has served on the Board of Commissioners of the Vermont State Housing Authority since 2019 and as chair since 2021, and is the president of the Housing Foundation, Inc.

“Alex has proven himself to be a capable and thoughtful leader within the department, as we work to address Vermont’s housing challenges,” said Governor Scott. “I look forward to working with Alex as we build on the historic investments and progress being made, and to take the bold action needed to continue moving forward.”

“I am grateful to serve Vermonters in this role, and I am eager to build on the progress that has been made over the last several years,” said Farrell. “We are at a pivotal moment in Vermont’s history in which we can choose to make Vermont more welcoming, strong, and safe. I look forward to continuing the Governor’s efforts to think big, work collaboratively, and improve the lives of Vermonters.”

The Department of Housing and Community Development coordinates and oversees the implementation of the state's housing policy, facilitates collaboration among state housing agencies, serves as a resource to housing providers, and promotes the production and preservation of affordable housing.