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Greitens follows predecessors in withdrawing appointees to state boards, commissions

File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has reversed about 60 interim appointments that ex-Gov. Jay Nixon made to numerous state boards and commissions.

Officials say the about-face is pretty much business as usual and not terribly disruptive.

Josh Foster is in charge of reviewing gubernatorial appointments for the Missouri Senate, which in turn confirms them. He said it’s common for a new governor to withdraw all interim appointments made by his predecessor — no matter the political affiliation.

“I went back and looked specifically when (Democratic governor Jay) Nixon took office after Matt Blunt was governor,” Foster said. “Matt Blunt, (a Republican), made over a hundred interim appointments – on Day One of Gov. Nixon’s term in office, he withdrew every one of those.”

In addition, Democratic Gov. Bob Holden made 101 interim appointments in 2004 before leaving office. Blunt, his successor, withdrew all of them on his first day in office in 2005.

Foster said interim appointments generally last seven months and helps maintain continuity on a board or commission.

“There are a lot of boards and commissions that actually have important functions,” he said, “and the state Constitution allows for those people to serve in those roles, in an interim role, without Senate confirmation, until the Legislature goes back in.”

Greitens’ office has not indicated when he’ll fill the vacancies caused by removing Nixon’s interim appointees.

Withdrawing the names of the 60 appointees, who had been named to 29 different boards and commissions, won’t affect the ability of most of those entities to do their work.

The Northwest Missouri State Board of Regents now has five members of a nine-member board, meaning all five members will have to be present in order to conduct business until replacements are confirmed.

Two boards don't have enough members to start a meeting. The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners has two members – and one month before a primary election. 

Republican elections director Gary Stoff said the vacancies won’t affect planning for the March 7 primary. He also said he expects Greitens to name new members before the board must meet to certify the election results.

One of seven state Child Abuse and Neglect Review boards also finds itself without a quorum. The boards meet monthly to hear appeals from parents or guardians who have been found to have abused or neglected children.

Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.