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Ashcroft plans many staff changes as new Missouri secretary of state

Jay Ashcroft
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State-elect Jay Ashcroft is planning to overhaul the office’s operations when he takes over Jan. 9.

Transition team member Steele Shippy confirmed Friday that some employees have been told they will lose their jobs, but he denied that most or all of the office’s 270 workers are being targeted.  "There's been no blanket email or communication that says they are all being let go,'' he said.

"Is the office going to undergo changes? Absolutely. We're doing a reorganization of the entire secretary of state's office."

As a rule, most non-political employees in Missouri state offices are not affected when a new state official is sworn in. However, some Republicans have been pressing for change since the secretary of state's office has been under Democratic control since 2005. Ashcroft is succeeding Democrat Jason Kander.

Shippy declined comment on reports that the office's Securities Division -- which does its own hiring -- may see significant staff changes. Ashcroft has named David Minnick as the division’s new chief. Minnick had been the general counsel at Stifel-Nicolaus, a St. Louis-based investment firm.

The Securities Division -- which has a staff of lawyers and financial experts -- polices the investment industry in the state.

Shippy says he will be Ashcroft's deputy chief of staff after he officially takes office.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.