The West Virginia Senate voted without dissent or discussion Wednesday to confirm Gov. Jim Justice’s 149 appointments to various jobs and boards, including the West Virginia Professional Charter School Board and the Educational Broadcasting Authority.
The confirmations mean these board members, some of whom have already begun serving, get to keep their positions.
The vote to confirm 148 of the appointments was 27-0. Absent from the vote were: Sens. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia; Mike Caputo, D-Marion; Mike Maroney, R-Marshall; Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha; Mike Romano, D-Harrison; Randy Smith, R-Tucker; and Ryan Weld, R-Brooke.
The tally to confirm Charles Russell to the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Board, for the new nonpublic-school vouchers program, was 26-0. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Trump, R-Morgan, requested to be excused from voting over a conflict of interest.
Trump said Russell is his son-in-law and the father of his new grandchild. Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, granted Trump’s recusal request.
The confirmations included former Justice adviser Bray Cary to serve on the West Virginia University Board of Governors.
They also include Educational Broadcasting Authority board members who, this month, voted to fire West Virginia Public Broadcasting executive director Chuck Roberts.
Those are Taylor Hood, an attorney and accountant employed by Putnam County Republican Sen. Eric Tarr’s Generations Physical Therapy chain; consultant, lobbyist, WMOV radio part-owner and former Democrat legislator Tom Susman; and retired Beckley Newspapers publisher Frank Wood.
The confirmations also include all four charter school board members who have been reviewing the seven applications, filed in late August, to open West Virginia’s first charter schools. That board plans to make its decisions Nov. 10.
Those four are Adam Kissel, who has worked for conservative and libertarian philanthropists and is a senior fellow at the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy think tank; Karen Bailey-Chapman, a board member of that same conservative/libertarian think tank and an official at the American Beverage Association of soft drink companies; Dewayne Duncan, a real estate developer and former state Department of Education official; and Brian Helton, Greater Beckley Christian School‘s former boys basketball head coach.
Also confirmed were Tia Welch as executive director of the state Human Rights Commission and Ted Diaz as Cabinet secretary of the Department of Veterans Assistance. Both of those appointments were announced in July.
Jimmy Wriston also was confirmed as Cabinet secretary, of the Department of Transportation, and Allan McVey was confirmed as the state insurance commissioner.