CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This summer, the state Elections Commission deadlocked on a 2-2 tie vote on a motion to award Supreme Court candidate Allen Loughry some $140,000 in public campaign financing matching funds.That led to a challenge in the state Supreme Court, ultimately resolved with the court overturning the state's Supreme Court public financing pilot project as unconstitutional.The 2-2 tie vote occurred, because the fifth seat on the commission -- and the potential tie-breaking vote -- is vacant.As of Friday, according to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office, there are a total of 163 vacancies on the 238 state boards and commissions that the governor has authority to appoint members.Considering that the governor has to fill a total of 1,938 seats on the various boards, the vacancy rate currently is at 8 percent.Becky Neal, who is in charge of handling executive appointments in the governor's office, said the distinct requirements for membership on various boards and commission makes it a challenge to fill all vacancies.Each board has various requirements for specific members, often including residency in specific congressional district, or even in specific geographic locations; political affiliation; and in some cases, experience or employment in particular fields or professions.
"When a candidate is recommended to our office, they must go through an initial screening process for that particular board to determine if, in fact, they meet all eligibility requirements," she said.Some of the current vacancies include:* A physician for the Board of Acupuncture
* An officer of a community-based nonprofit organization, and an officer of a municipality or county commission, for two seats on the Affordable Housing Trust Fund board of directors* A nail technician for the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists* Two residents of the 1st Congressional District, and one resident of the 2nd Congressional District, for the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences* A former legislator, a former member of a county or municipal board, and a full-time state government official, for seats on the Ethics Commission* A physician for the state Health Information Network
* An attorney with experience in mine safety for the Mine Safety Technology Task Force* A resident of the 1st Congressional District for the Parkways Authority* A county assessor for the Real Estate Appraiser Licensing BoardNeal said the governor's office welcomes applications from anyone interested in serving on state boards and commissions."The governor applauds individuals who step forwarding public service, and encourages anyone who would like to be considered for appointment to submit a letter of interest along with a resume to our office," she said.Reach Phil Kabler at email@example.com or 304-348-1220.