Gov. Janet Napolitano has taken on a new policy adviser despite the hiring freeze she imposed on nonessential positions.
In an announcement Friday, the governor said Ray Borane, who was mayor of Douglas until recently, is joining her staff immediately as adviser for border and international issues. That position had been held by Marco Lopez Jr., whom Napolitano recently named director of the state Department of Commerce.
Lopez, in turn, replaced Jan Lesher whom Napolitano tapped to be her chief of staff following the departure of Dennis Burke.
But gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer said bringing Borane on board does not violate the hiring freeze Napolitano imposed in February.
Technically, she said, Borane will not be a state employee. Instead, he will be paid $40,000 a year under a contract.
Half of the funds will come from the Arizona-Mexico Commission and half from the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.
L'Ecuyer also said Borane will be doing just half of what had been Lopez' job.
"Marco will continue, even though he's director of commerce, to advise the governor on international affairs," she said. "And Borane will pick up the other piece of that which is border-related issues."
And that, L'Ecuyer said, provides another reason to allow Borane to go to work for Napolitano.
"Border stuff is arguably mission-critical," she said, noting the governor's order has exemptions for those kind of positions.
Prior to becoming mayor of Douglas in 1996, Borane was assistant to the president of Northern Arizona University for two years.
Before that he was deputy state school superintendent following 12 years as superintendent of Douglas schools. Borane also had been president of the state Board of Education.
The governor, in a prepared statement, said Borane has "immense knowledge of border issues and a strong record of working with all sorts of people to get things done."