Governor Eric Greitens’ Board of Education appointees might not receive a confirmation hearing. Despite the governor’s months-long attempts to find members who would vote to remove Margie Vandeven as Education Commissioner in December, Senate President Ron Richard, R-Joplin, says he’s is undecided about holding a hearing for the nominees.
“I’ve taken exception to all governors, Republican and Democrat, pushing in on the legislative business of the Senate and the House,” says Richard. “Don’t ever take out my ability to do business and protect the Senate. I’m not going to say no, no, no. There may be some Senators that want to have a debate on the floor about some of these. I’m open to that too. It’s just that I want to protect our ability to advise and consent. I want to make sure this institution is respected for what we do legislatively.”
Greitens, also a Republican, withdrew his appointees on Wednesday and immediately reappointed them. The move gives the Senate until the end of this legislative session to consider his nominees, instead of the traditional 30-day deadline from the start of the session.
“We’re here to help teachers, students, and families succeed. We found a great group of leaders in our state to work with us. I appreciate the Senate reaching out, to let us know they want ample time to hear these appointees,” says Greitens.
The governor’s action means the Board of Education does not have enough confirmed members required to take action on issues, including the hiring of a new education commissioner or policies.
He has said he wants to end the status quo in public education. The way the governor orchestrated Vandeven’s exit has some Senators in his own party promising to block his nominees.
“Those appointees are probably going to need some time, if I decide to give them a hearing. I still want to make sure that I protect our ability as Senators to advise and consent. That’s very important to me and not going around our ability to advise and consent,” says Richard. “I will do what I have to do.”
Meanwhile, the application process for the Education Commissioner position will close at 4:30 p.m. on January 8. A public hearing is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. on that day to gather public input on the characteristics that Missourians want in the next education leader. The hearing will be held in the State Board of Education Room on the first floor of the Jefferson Building in Jefferson City.