JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After weeks of adamantly postponing the confirmation of Gov. Eric Greitens’ gubernatorial appointees, the Senate voted Thursday to approve them after Greitens visited with Senate Republicans for about an hour Wednesday during their caucus.
“The Senate decided they needed to press ahead on many of these department heads and curators wanted them to get to their job, and we’ll still have an ongoing dialogue between the governor’s office and our office,” Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said, at Thursday’s Senate press conference.
Strained relations arose between the executive branch and the upper chamber over an order from Greitens to institute a $1.1 million paid family leave policy in the executive branch. That action roughly three weeks ago led to the majority caucus declining to confirm several notable gubernatorial appointments.
Among the appointees were the three new curators for the University of Missouri System: Darryl M. Chatman, Jamie L. Farmer, and Jeffrey L. Layman; Craig D. Frazier and Carol Silvey for the Missouri State University Board of Governors; and James Timothy Bean as State Fire Marshall.
The tension broke Thursday when Richard, the chair of the Gubernatorial Appointments Committee, asked the body to accept a report from his committee and confirm those appointees. Richard added no deals had been made in regards to the family leave policy between the executive branch and Senate Republicans.
“There wasn’t any quid pro quo,” he said. “We agreed to listen to him, and they agreed to listen to us.”
He also said he was not yet ready to speak on behalf of the entire Senate of where the caucus now stands on Greitens’ paid family leave policy. Several other lawmakers noted the meeting went well, despite some tense moments between the governor and their caucus.
Freshman Sen. Bill Eigel said Wednesday afternoon that he and several other senators raised their own respective issues with the governor, but that the group managed to work through some of those issues, even if they had not found definitive solutions. Sen. Paul Wieland would not go into details either, but he noted that relationship between the body and the governor, in general, was in a better place after the meeting than before it.
Eigel added there was a sense of “relief” among the caucus that Greitens had made the visit, a term echoed the next day by Richard. The Senate president said he would continue to ensure the three branches of government stayed separate in their duties.
“I’m ever watchful of intrusion of the legislative branch,” Richard said, adding that in his long career as a state legislator the judiciary and executive branches occasionally both tried “to do our job.”