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Michael Christensen, the state's planning coordinator, has resigned effective Aug. 5 when he will take over as executive director of the Utah Foundation, a non-profit tax research organization.

Christensen is the third top-level appointee of Gov. Norm Bangerter to resign after Bangerter announced he would not seek re-election."The foundation is a good organization and I think I can make it better," Christensen said. "They said they wanted me, and I think it will be exciting. I've really enjoyed my current job more than any other. But I have to look for career opportunities."

Christensen, who also functions as the deputy director of the state Office of Budget and Planning, which is the governor's primary resource for policy analysis on tax, education and public lands issues, as well as federal-state relations, environmental issues and resource management plans.

Bud Scruggs, the governor's chief of staff, and Dale Hatch, his chief budget officer, announced their resignations earlier.

"The governor is going to be out scrambling," to replace the staffers, House Speaker Craig Moody, R-Sandy, said Monday.

Christensen said his resignation was directly related to the governor's announcement last November that he would not seek another term. Christensen serves at the governor's discretion.