Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kenney to Step Down

Public Service Commission Chairman Robert Kenney sent his letter of resignation to Governor Jay Nixon yesterday.  Kenney will leave the PSC on August 7.  Nixon’s statement: “During his public career with the PSC and with the Attorney General's Office, Robert Kenney has always worked on behalf of the interests of the people of Missouri.  He has led the PSC as it has strived to ensure a reliable energy supply at the lowest possible cost to consumers. Over the last six years, he has emerged as a nationally recognized leader in public utility regulation.  I appreciate what Robert has accomplished for our state, and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Who’s Next

Now comes the speculation for a replacement for Kenney… One factor certain to be discussed is the lack of a woman on the commission.  Critics of the governor have been consistent in pointing to various high-profile boards and commissions in Missouri without any female representation.

 

Meanwhile, there will also be those who view this as an opportunity to better shape the Democratic 2016 statewide slate.  For example, could Jake Zimmerman or Scott Sifton be appointed to the commission to scuttle the possible attorney general primary?

 

Or, will it be another long-time Nixonite?  With his gubernatorial tenure coming to an end there’s always the impulse to take care of one’s own.

 

And

One would expect that the next chairman would be Steve Stoll, having the most seniority of the Democrats.

 

 

Gaines to Florida

Last week Kent Gaines terminated his lobbyist registrations in Missouri creating speculation that the long-time lobbyist had retired.

I heard from Gaines yesterday.  He has not retired.  He has moved to Florida. Find him on twitter here.

He’s now registered as a lobbyist there in Florida working for his partner of old…. Travis Brown.

Gaines and Brown had a partnership in Missouri many years ago before going their separate ways.  Now it appears they’re back together again, as the Gateway Group eyes expansion into the Sunshine state?...

 

Wolfe Stumping for Missouri Promise?

It seems that Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, is on board with Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s Missouri Promise proposal.

It would make sense that the university president would want to push for the new revenue stream that an increase in cigarette tax would bring, but how in front can he be without raising the ire of those opposed to tax increases.

Earlier this year, Sen. Eric Schmitt fired some warning shots across the bow of Wolfe in this regard.  See the CDT article here.

Pull Quote: Schmitt, R-Glendale, was upset about an editorial in Friday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch praising Wolfe for advocating an increase in state cigarette taxes and questioning state priorities. Wolfe visited with the newspaper’s editorial board Thursday as part of his Show Me Value Tour, touting the benefits of higher education. “I think it is appalling the University of Missouri president is so opposed to people keeping more of their own money,” said Schmitt, a candidate for state treasurer in 2016. “It is my opinion that the University of Missouri system president’s time may be better spent doing a thorough review of the system.”

 

And now one reader asks if Wolfe is actively raising money for the proposal and if so, does it creates a conflict with the code of conduct as a public employee.  That is, that political activity is supposed to happen on personal time only.  See it here.

 

Governor Vs Human Rights Commission?

In a suit filed in Cole County last Friday, the governor’s office is suing the Human Rights Commission on a case stemming from 2014 involving – according to the suit – a charge filed by Stacey Skiles Minze filed against the State of Missouri, and the Office of the Governor.

Says one observer: “I have to admit, I have no idea what is going on here, but this lawsuit is signed office of the governor of the state of Missouri vs. the Missouri Human Rights Commission. It appears the AG's office (Representing the Governor's office and others) alleges that the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (an agency represented by the AG and whose members are appointed by the Governor) violated the law by issuing a ‘right to sue’ letter to a fired employee.  Employers have been complaining for years about the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. Ironic that the governor is caught in their bureaucratic talons…”

 

Murphy: Mehlville’s Watchdog

Email update: The former Fox schools superintendent, who left that district sorting through allegations of libel and credit card misuse, had a new, temporary job this spring — checking for test integrity at schools. Dianne Critchlow was hired by Pearson, a company that holds a contract with the state to monitor administration of exams. She went to Oakville Elementary in the Mehlville School District as part of the state’s quality assurance visit.

To be clear. Yes, she was here in Mehlville. No, she wasn't working for Mehlville. And no, we had no say or control over her visit to Oakville Elementary.

The fact that she represented DESE in a school indicates a broader systemic issue at the state level and a lack of oversight. The culture where people who do something wrong or are under investigation for their action, and are moved into a similar job elsewhere should not be accepted especially when it comes to our children.

I brought my concerns to Jefferson City and am pleased to report that DESE has informed Pearson that Dr. Critchlow is no longer welcome in Missouri Schools as their representative.

Being familiar with Jefferson City, I began my career as the chief of staff for former Sen. Jim Lembke, I’m not afraid to fight for what is right. I appreciate the trust the community put in me by electing me to the school board and will continue to be a watchdog for our community.

Thank you,

Jamey Murphy

 

StL Civvies Polling?

American Directions Research Group (see the website here) is polling in the City of St. Louis asking about a new bond issue funded by an increase in property tax.  The poll test the favorability of various politicians and institutions, and messages that could be used to sell the proposal.  This comes just weeks after the Board of Aldermen approved placing the $180 million bond issue on the summer ballot.

 

The Talk: Reading Aycock?

Could yesterday’s $5K donation from Barry Aycock to Nicole Galloway who doesn’t run until 2018 be a sign that Aycock is not satisfied with the current Dem leadership and may not be active in the 2016 campaign?

 

Bits

CDT reports that Cory McMahon who received the Missouri Mental Health Champion award from the Missouri Mental Health Foundation “intends to seek the 45th District House seat in 2016, challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Kip Kendrick.”  McMahon is a Republican.  See it here.
According to LinkedIn, Greg Christian is now an account executive at Kaffcorp Media.

 

Kevin Stamps has formed The Campaign Lab.  See the website here.

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Sen. Paul Wieland Golf – Deer Creek Golf Club – House Springs.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Nikki Broadfoot added GlaxoSmithKline; and deleted Novartis Vaccines.

Jon Dolan deleted Reliant Care Management Company LLC.

Rachel Anderson deleted University of Missouri Flagship Council.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Koster for Missouri - $25,000 from CHIPP Political Account.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Lon Lowrey (67), Kevin Stamps, and Pearce’s Matthew Michelson (34).