Bud Scruggs, the man who managed the successful re-election campaigns of both of Utah's senators, was chosen Thursday to be Gov. Norm Bangerter's chief of staff.
Bangerter said he chose Scruggs from a list of several qualified people because of his experience and legal knowledge. Scruggs is an attorney.Scruggs also is known for an amiable and witty personality. He joked with reporters during a news conference announcing his appointment, saying he had proved his abilities by pulling the campaigns of Utah's Republican Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch "out of the fire."
Both men never were seriously challenged in the campaigns managed by Scruggs.
Scruggs, with his wife and four small children at his side, said he already had accepted a job with Garn before Bangerter offered the job.
"He (Garn) released me from my commitment and wished me well," Scruggs said. "I don't have any delusions that I'm irreplaceable."
Bangerter said Scruggs has the ability to relate with others.
"He has the capability to not only administer the daily affairs of the administration, but to reach out to the community and make them feel a part of the administration," Bangerter said.
Scruggs, 31, is the third man to hold the title of chief of staff under Bangerter, who was re-elected for a second term last month. Scruggs replaces Reed Searle, who replaced Jon Memmott in 1987.
Bangerter praised both of his former chiefs of staff, who attended the news conference, and the governor added some humor of his own.
"Both (Memmott and Searle) have gone the ways of the world, going to higher paying, more steady jobs," he said, adding that he himself had a tenuous job future until narrowly winning re-election. "Now I have job security. Who else has a four-year contract these days? Not even baseball players get that."
Bangerter said the role of a chief of staff is to keep the governor informed of all the facts and angles of major issues.
"His role will be to see that the governor has the information that's absolutely critical to make the decisions required of the governor," Bangerter said. "I'm one who does not like to make decisions based on half of the answers."
Scruggs said the preparation of the 1990 fiscal budget is his most pressing responsibility. Bangerter has less than two weeks to present his budget recommendations to the legislative fiscal analyst.
"I've got a lot of homework to do," he said. "I'll probably do that this afternoon."
Scruggs came to Utah in 1975 to attend Brigham Young University. His father was in the Army and had moved the family often. "I have no real home town," he said.
Ironically, Scruggs became active in the Democratic Party while at BYU, serving for a time as president of the campus's Young Democrats organization. "That was similar to being president of the Young Surfers Club at Kansas State," he said.
Scruggs became well acquainted with Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, while at BYU and worked for a time as volunteer in the unsuccessful 1980 presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.
It was during that campaign, Scruggs said, that he decided to become a Republican.
"It was an eye-opener for me," he said. "By midsummer I became convinced I wasn't comfortable."
He graduated from BYU's law school in 1984. He and his wife, Shirley, have four children, ranging in age from 4 to 9, and are expecting a fifth child in February.