Gov. Kevin Stitt's administrative overhaul of state government has resulted with the appointment of more than a dozen new agency heads during the first eight months of his first year in office.
It's a power play that should surprise nobody, because it was a frequent topic during Stitt's 2018 campaign. Lawmakers facilitated the move by granting — right out of the gate — the governor greater authority to hire and fire at will the chiefs at the state's five largest agencies.
But these moves must be monitored closely — the governor has demonstrated a willingness to go beyond what the Legislature authorized and use sharp elbows and shoulders to try and shove others aside. Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson, a model public servant for nearly four decades, is the latest example of such tactics.
Stitt's moves have caught the attention of political observers for another reason: He has filled the top positions in some state agencies with business people who have no prior experience in state government or no background in the field for which they are responsible. The governor defends his decisions, saying voters hired him "to bring in a fresh set of eyes across state government."
While there is nothing wrong with getting a fresh perspective, it seems there is something important lacking when it comes to the governor's appointments. There appears to be little diversity among those he nominates and appoints — most of his appointments have been drawn from a pool of white businessmen.
There is value in diversity and different perspectives, both of which are vital when finding solutions to persistent problems. But the governor seems intent to tune out those voices and fill these state agencies with some "good ol' boys" of his own.