The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 16, 2013

Bill seeks to change appointment process

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — All the attention riveted on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s huge education package is inspiring some desired reforms in how folks at the top of the ladder get the opportunity to serve.

In the latest example, Sen. Mike Green, D-Raleigh, produced a bill Friday that would mean anyone named as state schools superintendent must gain the approval of the Senate.

Thus Green, as chairman of the confirmations committee, would direct that panel’s action on the appointment.

In current practice, the superintendent is merely handed the job by the state board of education, and there is nothing the Senate can do about it.

“Every gubernatorial appointment must come before the Senate,” Green said after his bill appeared on the list.

In fact, he said, one key appointee, the director of the Regional Jail Authority, is hired by that board, but even its recommendation must pass muster with the Confirmations Committee.

“This is something we looked at earlier,” Green said.

“We wanted to make sure that everything that happens with the board and the superintendent, that we had a little more input as to who that person is going to be.”

Green’s proposal, SB546, would also compel the recommended appointee as state fire marshal also go before his committee.

Green described the state schools superintendent as “a very important position that can have a lot of positive or adverse effects on our education system.”

Joining Green as co-sponsors were Majority Leader John Unger, D-Berkeley; Sens. Daniel Hall, D-Wyoming; Bob Beach, D-Monongalia; and Bob Williams, D-Taylor.

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