Though he's had authority to do it for several months now, North Dakota's rarely-seen-and-rarely-heard Governor John Hoeven announced today that he'll eventually take action to do what voters told him to do back in December.
Gov. John Hoeven`s staff attorney says the governor will soon name a a permanent executive director for the state workers` compensation agency.
Ryan Bernstein, Hoeven`s staff attorney, says the governor will name a new executive director within "the next couple of weeks." Bernstein says Hoeven didn`t use a formal application process but has met with possible appointees.
The agency has been led since last March by former Fargo Mayor Bruce Furness. The WSI board named him interim director after Sandy Blunt was fired. Voters approved a ballot measure in November that gives Hoeven the authority to name the new executive director instead of keeping the power with the WSI board.
He knew in early November that the voters wanted him to do this. His official authority to do it kicked in in early December. It's only taken him three months to get around to doing it, and he hasn't even bothered to solicit applications?
How do you appoint someone to lead up a state agency if you don't solicit applications? Seriously. Do you ask all your donors if any is willing to do it? Do you ask your political cronies?
My prediction: I think it'll be someone who -- like Furness -- doesn't have the courage, integrity or intellectual curiosity to learn all about the issues and problems that have plagued WSI or to do the housekeeping that needs to get done at WSI. I think it'll be someone predisposed to ignore all of WSI's baggage and skeletons. I think it'll be a Republican Party insider who -- like Furness -- has little or no experience with competently running a state agency.
I have four people on my "Short List" of who I think Hoeven has asked to take the job. My prediction is it that either it will be another Sandy Blunt (someone with experience working in an ethically-challenged capacity in state governement) or it will be another Bruce Furness (a figurehead with little or no experience running a state agency and/or no experience with work comp). I have an opinion on who Hoeven SHOULD appoint, but I won't even bother writing it here. There's little risk that it'll be someone I'd support.
Who do you think it'll be?