Shelby Kerns to lead NASBO as executive director

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The National Association of State Budget Officers has named Shelby Kerns as its new executive director to fill the position vacated in early December by John Hicks.

Kerns is currently deputy director at the Idaho Department of Labor in Boise, Idaho. She will assume her new position March 30.

Shelby Kerns will become the new executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers beginning March 30. Kerns is currently deputy director at the Idaho Department of Labor.

Hicks, who had been NASBO’s top executive since April 2016, left to become state budget director for the incoming administration of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky.

Hicks previously had served as Kentucky’s deputy budget director.

Kerns is well known among the NASBO membership as an active member who serves on its executive committee.

She previously served as budget bureau chief for the Idaho Division of Financial Management from 2009 through March 2019 developing, presenting, and advocating for the governor’s executive budget.

Kerns said in a phone interview that the hardest part of working in the Idaho budget office, where she started as an analyst, was dealing with the Great Recession.

“Trying to provide essential services while dealing with declining revenues, that was definitely the biggest challenge we had during my time in the budget office,” she said. “I think there have been a lot of lessons learned from that time and states weren’t as prepared as they are now.”

Earlier in her career, Kerns was executive director of the Idaho Rural Partnership, program director at the Idaho Association of Realtors®, and assistant executive director of the Idaho Wool Growers Association.

NASBO President Marc Nicole, deputy secretary for the Maryland Department of Budget & Management, said that Kerns brings to her new position “extensive knowledge, experience and forward-looking ideas.”

Kerns, 44, is a native of Idaho who has spent most of her life there.

She said in a telephone interview Friday that she once had a six-month internship in Washington, D.C., and is looking forward to relocating.

“So I’m a little bit familiar,” she said. “I’m back there a few times a year. I’ve always felt pretty comfortable, but it will definitely be a big leap.”

NASBO has a full-time staff of eight people who collect extensive data on the fiscal condition of each state that is published twice each year.

“For a small staff it has a big impact,” Kerns said. “NASBO provides lots of great tools back to the states. I think that’s important too. NASBO provides great data for everyone and also helps states with that data and is a great resource to budget directors around the country.”

Asked if she can predict the biggest trend in state finances for 2020, Kerns demurred.

“I have been out of state budgeting for a year, so I am looking forward to learning that myself,” she said. “I look most forward to learning about that from everybody when I start."

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State budgets State and local finance State of Idaho State of Kentucky District of Columbia