Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, says up until now he hasn’t been able to reach a deal between Herbert and Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, and other Senate leaders on Giani’s “unique” situation.
“And, frankly, I agree with President Waddoups. I have the same balance of power concerns,” Valentine told UtahPolicy Monday afternoon.
By law, the names for consent must be formalized 24 hours before the Senate’s regular, interim day extra-ordinary consent session.
Here’s Valentine and Waddoup’s complaint:
-- Giani is executive director of the state’s Department of Commerce, which does not oversee the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.
-- Giani would take up one slot on the newly-formed seven-member DABC board, filling the position of some other possible citizen appointee.
-- Thus, you would have an executive director from one state department having some kind of say over another state department.
“I would have this objection if you wanted to put the executive director of the State Health Department on the DABC board, or if you wanted to put the executive director of DABC on some other state board,” said Valentine, who knows what it’s like to deal with gubernatorial appointments when he was Senate president eight years ago.
As chairman of the interim Senate business and labor confirmation committee, Valentine said he could call a committee hearing on Giani, “but what good does that do if her name never goes before the whole Senate?”
Valentine said after the messes found in DABC a year ago – and after the lessons learned during a liquor scandal in the old Liquor Commission under former Gov. Cal Rampton – he carefully crafted a new DABC management structure.
“We have the executive director of DABC appointed by the governor. Used to be the DABC board. Big change. We have the chairman of the DABC board picked by the governor, not the other board members. Big change.”
And the new Valentine law that was passed in the 2012 Legislature also expanded the DABC board from five to seven members and set up two special board committees and an internal audit function that reports only to the board.
Now with all those checks and balances in place, here comes Herbert and nominates Giani – who stepped in at Herbert’s insistence to sort out all the troubles at DABC last year, acting as temporary DABC executive director.
She did a fine job, by all accounts.
And Valentine said senators don’t have a problem with her; but with any external executive director being put on the board of another department.
Giani’s appointment would “blow up the whole new structure” inside the DABC, said Valentine.
The Giani appointment is the fourth nomination by Herbert to be questioned – at least to some degree – by the Senate this summer.
-- For the first time ever, the Senate’s judicial confirmation committee voted this summer against a gubernatorial nomination to a state court. But Herbert rallied his Senate support and his nominee was approved in a split vote in the whole Senate.
-- Herbert nominated an EnergySolutions executive to the radiation control board. Complaints were heard from a variety of places and he withdrew that appointment.
-- Herbert appointed former state Rep. Holly Richardson to the special GRAMA review board.
Richardson voted for the ill-fated HB477 bill in the 2011 Legislature. Like many representatives who voted for passage, then for repeal, of that much-hated “reform” to Utah’s public records law, Richardson came to see the error of her ways. She is a GRAMA expert and, despite some complaints by a good-citizen group, Richardson is expected to be confirmed by the whole Senate on Wednesday.
Valentine said when he was president of the Senate, on several occasions he did oppose, or question, an appointment by former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
“Those nominations were withdrawn,” said Valentine, and there was never a case where an appointee was voted down by the Senate.
If Giani doesn’t appear on the October confirmation session, and if her name is not put before senators in the November confirmation floor vote, then, says Valentine, Herbert would have to resubmit her name before January’s regular general session.
“There is, I believe, a 90-day requirement.”
If the Senate doesn’t act to confirm or deny within that time frame from the governor’s official nomination, it is assumed confirmation is denied (even if there is not a vote of the full body) and the process starts over again, said Valentine.
The Legislature doesn’t hold interim meetings in December, taking the month off so staff can work on drafting the hundreds of new bills to be considered in the next Legislature.
In any case, it appears that Giani’s confirmation vote won’t take place Wednesday, which means it will come after the Nov. 6 election where Herbert is expected to win a new four-year term.
Waddoups retires at the end of this year. New Senate leadership elections will take place just after the Nov. 6 general vote.
And it could well be up to the new GOP leaders come 2013 to decide Giani’s fate and the remaining appointment to the new DABC board.