This Week in the Governor’s Office: Week of Aug. 21


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The week of August 21- 25, Governor Eric Greitens attended the eclipse viewing event at the Capitol, issued a stay of execution on Marcellus Williams, made several appointments, and took to Facebook to answer questions.

On Monday, Americans traveled to the Jefferson City to see the eclipse from the lawn of the Capitol. Among those who traveled were astronauts and representatives from NASA, who broadcasted the event. Greitens spoke with the NASA officials and welcomed the crowd to Jefferson City.

On Tuesday, Greitens issued a stay of execution hours before Marcellus Williams was scheduled to be killed. While the Attorney General’s office advocated for his execution, Greitens wanted to review DNA evidence. Lawyers for Williams, a 48-year-old man who was accused of murding a reporter in 1998, say that they have new evidence which proves his innocence.

Lawyers representing Williams say they found DNA on the murder weapon from another man. This type of evidence was unavailable during his trail in 2001. To verify the evidence – and possibly prevent Williams from dying due to a crime he did not commit – Greitens cited one of his gubernatorial powers which allows him to appoint a board of inquiry. Gov. Mel Carnahan was the last person to appoint a board of inquiry in the 1990’s.

On Wednesday, Governor Greitens announced the appointments of 18 individuals to various boards and commissions. James Heatherly, a former Intelligence Analyst for the Army, was appointed to the Board of Private Investigator and Private Fire Investigators Examiners. Courtney Kovachevich, a Cardio Surgery unit nurse; Donna Jo Neely, the Executive Office Administrator of Missouri Kids First; and Allie Chang Ray, a consultant for healthcare advocacy group, Mutare Network LLC, were all appointed to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board.

Carl Bolm, President of Investa Management; Bobby Robertson, CEO of healthcare technology company, Omnigo Software; and Shawn Saale, partner of Saale & Bailey, LC., were all appointed to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Kevin Childress, president of transportation management company MyFreightWorld Technologies, was appointed to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority. Daniel Finney, principal of the Law Office of Daniel P. Finney III, was appointed to  the Missouri Gaming Commission. Amy Counts, an account executive for Wise F&I, was appointed to the Missouri State University State Board of Governors.

Beth Knes, the Rockwood School District executive director of student services, was appointed to the Public School Retirement System of Missouri, Board of Trustees. Fred Schmidt, former president of FWS Land Strategies, was appointed to the Safe Drinking Water Commission. Gerre Kraemer, a former director for the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners, was appointed to the St. Louis City Board of Elections. Sharon Buchanan-McClure, former Public Affairs director for the Missouri Department of Mental Health; and Matt Potter, VP of the Bancorp Community Development Corporation, were appointed to the St. Louis County Board of Elections.

Claudia Oñate Greim, compliance counsel for Lockton Companies; and Doug Russell, president of the Durham Company, were appointed to the State Board of Education. David Corley, a director of JTL Enterprises, was appointed to the Tourism Commission.

In the early afternoon, Greitens took to Facebook Live for the third time in his eight-month term. He answered eight questions taken from his Facebook page and talked for about 20 minutes. Over the course of his two posts, he received nearly 4,000 comments from critics, cynics, and supporters. In his Facebook Live session, he spoke about his success in business growth in Missouri, fully funding K-12 education, and passing the Real ID Act.

In his address, he also revealed some of his policy strategy for reducing veteran death from suicide, improving financial capabilities of the University of Missouri, and providing internet access for rural Missourians. He hopes that by providing “purposeful work” and having prescription drug addicted veterans graduate from drug courts, veteran suicide rates will go down. To improve on the financial problems that Mizzou has faced over the last two years, he mentioned the new leadership of president Mun Choi and his appointments to the board of curators. Finally, he ended his session talking about the importance of improving rural access to the internet and discussed the benefits a quality internet can have on business and education.