Governor Eric Greitens appointees to the state Board of Education appear to be dead in the water.
Republican Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard of Joplin said Thursday that nominee Eddie Justice won’t be brought up again for confirmation after chamber members filibustered the process earlier this week.
Many Senators were angered by Greitens’ moves last year when he made appointments while they were out of session, stripping them of their function to advise and consent. Greitens has routinely replaced board and commission members, sometimes his own appointees, who have shown resistance to voting in the direction he favors.
He made 10 appointees to the state Board of Education in short order last year until he found five that would comply with his desire to have Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven fired.
The board voted 5-3 to fire Vandeven on Dec. 1, after a previous voter on her job in November ended in a 4-4 tie. All five of the votes to fire Vandeven came from Greitens’ appointees who took their seats before the Senate was in session and could confirm or deny them. One of the five was sworn in just before the December 1st vote.
Moments before the start of the 2018 legislative session in January, Greitens withdrew and then re-nominated the five appointees. The move by the governor effectively sidestepped a requirement that the Senate confirm them within 30 days, which many Senators said they would not do.
Richard said Thursday he was told that nominee Justice, who had voted to fire Vandeven, would be filibustered again if reintroduced for confirmation. He indicated there would be opposition to Greitens’ other appointees and said it was unlikely they would be brought to the floor for confirmation.
Republican Senator Gary Romine of Farmington filed a bill this year to prevent the governor from stacking boards and commissions while the Senate is away from Jefferson City.
Among other things, it requires that a majority of board members have Senate confirmation in order to conduct business. But the bill is unlikely to see passage this legislative session as it has failed to move to the chamber’s floor.
Greitens relationship with Senators has been further worsened as he faces two felony charges. Romine and Richard have joined other lawmakers in calling for him to step down and Richard has endorsed impeachment proceedings against the governor.