Do you know someone who might make a good public safety commissioner or director of financial institutions? If so, the Governor's Transition Committee would like to hear from you. There's a catch, though. They want your comments by Thursday.
Lt. Gov. Val Oveson said public comment will be important as the 11-member committee gets down to the task of deciding who is going and who is staying as Gov. Norm Bangerter prepares to embark on a second term as governor Jan. 1. Shortly after winning re-election, Bangerter called for the resignations of all appointed officials in his current administration. He said that was the first step in a reorganization process that he hopes will streamline state government and address some of the concerns raised during the fall campaign."We're at a mid-point where we can make stronger emphasis in some areas and this is a good opportunity to make changes for the coming term," Oveson said. "This is not a reflection of widespread dissatisfaction."
Oveson will be chairman of the committee and will also oversee recommendations concerning the planning and budget office. Joining Oveson will be businessman Jon Huntsman, who will oversee community and economic development; Republican lobbyist Douglas Foxley, who will oversee health; attorney LeRoy Axland, public safety, corrections and criminal justice; Small Business Investment Corp. board member Bonnie Miller, business regulation and alcoholic beverage control; former Republican legislator Olene Walker, social services; businessman Kenneth Knight, financial institutions and insurance; Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins, transportation and human resources; Weber County Commissioner Lowell Peterson, administrative services and agriculture; and businessman Jack Roberts, natural resources. Also on the committee is businessman Ray Hixon. His area of responsibility will be decided at a subsequent meeting.
The committee held its first meeting Monday before holding a press conference to announce its formation. Oveson said the committee will meet regularly this week in hopes of having recommendations for Bangerter's consideration by Monday or Tuesday of next week.
The committee will evaluate present employees on their job performance, public perception of their performance and the reactions of subordinate employees. Oveson said a four-man staff will gather information, both good and bad, for the committee's consideration. He refused to elaborate on how that information will be gathered except to say it will include interviews with the person in question and subordinates.
Oveson also refused to say whether Bangerter has made decisions concerning specific employees. Oveson would only say, "We'll be in close communication with the governor."
About 230 employees are not covered by merit protection but the committee will focus on only about 150 of those positions, Oveson said. Bangerter will not deal with positions involving fixed terms but will address those positions as the terms expire.
Oveson said the committee is anxious to receive public comment. They will use an outreach process to gather information and also would like to receive comments from the public at large. He encouraged the public to contact the lieutenant governor's office or the committee member over a particular area.
The committee members will be responsible for making recommendations in their appointed areas for committee consideration. The committee will then make a formal recommendation to the governor. Oveson said that list will not be made public and the final decision rests with the governor, who could reject committee suggestions.
Oveson said the committee is likely to spend some time looking at policies and procedures involving the affected departments. He said some recommendations may come from that review but those will be incidental and are not the primary concern of the committee.