Governor Hasn’t Submitted Cabinet for Confirmation

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – With about a month left in the 2009 Legislature, Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer has yet to submit the names of his Cabinet appointees to the Republican-controlled Senate for confirmation.

Senate President Bob Story, R-Park City, wrote to the governor on March 4 saying he was “concerned” that the governor hadn’t sent the Senate a list of directors for the state’s 14 executive agencies.

Story noted that the Legislature’s workload increases during the final weeks of the session, Story said it would be helpful if Schweitzer “would submit the appropriate names and information as soon as possible.”

Schweitzer said the Senate still hasn’t acted on all of the scores of nominees he’s sent them for various state boards and commissions.

“It doesn’t make sense to dump a lot more names on them,” Schweitzer told the Lee Newspapers Montana bureau. “When they’ve digested those, we’ll send them some more. We just want to be cooperative.”

The Senate voted Saturday to confirm nearly 180 Schweitzer nominees to boards and commissions and last month confirmed his nominees to the state Board of Regents, Board of Public Education and Board of Livestock.

Schweitzer sent the Senate the names of another 78 board appointees two weeks ago. The Senate State Administration Committee held hearings on those nominees on Friday. Action is also pending on nominees to the Board of Environmental Review; Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission and the Board of Livestock.

Schweitzer dismissed two agency directors last November: Joan Miles, director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services and Jeff Hagener, director of the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. He appointed Anna Whiting Sorrell to succeed Miles and Joe Maurier to replace Hagener. Schweitzer has given no indication that he plans to replace any other agency directors.

In 2005, Schweitzer submitted the names of his agency directors for confirmation in mid-February.

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