JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Republican Gov.-elect Eric Greitens and his team have steadily been officially adding more members to his team in the past weeks, and are getting ready to make more announcements before the inauguration ceremony.
In a press call on Thursday, senior adviser Austin Chambers spoke with reporters about the staffing, as well as the new position Greitens intends to create: his chief operating officer.
Chambers said that the new COO has been selected, but would not say who it would be. He did elaborate on what the position entails, and some of the qualities of their selection for the post.
“Our COO, just as a reminder, Eric talked about this many times during the campaign, is going to come in and help the governor transform the government. It’s an outsider who is going to come in and help shake things up, and bring overhaul and efficiency to a state government that badly needs it,” Chambers said. “This is someone who is a successful business career, who is coming into government because they want to serve the public and they believe in the governor’s agenda and taking Missouri in a new direction.”
He did say the person who was coming in was a person from Missouri with a background in the business world, not someone involved in politics or served in an elected office.
“While we still don’t know who the governor-elect will add to his team as the chief operating officer, I am confident this person will help lead Missouri into a positive direction,” Senate Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said in a release on Friday. “The governor-elect has said he wants to run a more efficient state government, and his pick for COO will be a major player in making that happen.”
Chambers did not have an expected salary amount for the position, but said the person selected could potentially volunteer their services. The nominee is expected to be announced next week.
Chambers also said they have decided on who the new Director of the Office of Administration will be, but would not say who. He also told reporters that they intend to announce the new director of the Department of Public Safety and the majority of the DPS team in a press conference next week in St. Louis.
The Greitens administration has already announced two cabinet members in the past two weeks: Anne Precythe will take the position as Director of the Department of Corrections and Chris Chinn has been nominated as the new head of the Department of Agriculture.
“We will make additional announcements in the coming days. We are continuing to assemble the team. For the most part, our senior team is together and we are continuing to fill out the remaining staff,” Chambers said on the call.
The senior staff members right now consist of senior adviser Austin Chambers; Mike Roche, chief of staff; Lucinda Luetkemeyer general counsel; Jennae Neustadt, legislative director; and Will Scharf, policy director.
“Our legislative team is completely in place. That will be led by Jennae, with four other staff members who will be working with her,” Chambers said. “That team is going to push the governor’s priorities, which are jobs, ethics reform, public safety, and education reform.”
The names are also expected to be announced next week.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.