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Sunday, August 19, 2007


The Missouri Conservation Commission, not Gov. Matt Blunt, should have selected the panel’s newest member because the governor missed his constitutional window for doing so by eight days, some critics of the process contend.

Under the Missouri Constitution, the governor appoints the commission’s four members. However, it says: “If the governor fails to fill a vacancy within thirty days, the remaining members shall fill the vacancy for the unexpired term.”

On Aug. 7, Blunt appointed Saline County Presiding Commissioner Becky Plattner to replace Stephen Bradford in one of the commission’s two Democratic slots. Bradford’s term expired June 30, 38 days before Blunt named a successor. During the interim, Bradford continued to serve under another constitutional provision that allows appointed officials to hold their posts past the end of their terms until replaced.

Blunt and the commission argue the 30-day time limit only applies when a commissioner resigns midterm and isn’t applicable in this instance. In 1991, however, then-Gov. John Ashcroft cited the time limit in asking the commission to reappoint a member 30 days after that member’s previous term had ended.

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