Day One Powers of the Governor – Removal of Members of Boards and Commissions

Glenn Youngkin Photo Credit: NBC News

by James C. Sherlock

The left routinely reminds us that elections have consequences.

Well, indeed they do.

People ask what can Glenn Youngkin really do on day one of his administration. The answer — more and more consequentially — than is commonly understood.

I have written here repeatedly about long term corruption in the Board of Health and rigid and relentless progressivism in the Board of Education.

Those boards are very powerful in Virginia. They are charged with both writing regulations and oversight of the underlying departments. The current members of those boards need to go — en masse.

The new governor has the power to make that happen.

Powers of the governor over board, commissions, etc. The Code of Virginia grants Governor Youngkin the power to fire all of the members of both boards.

§ 2.2-108. Removal of members of certain boards, commissions, etc.
A. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Governor may remove from office for malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetence, misconduct, neglect of duty, absenteeism, conflict of interests, failure to carry out the policies of the Commonwealth as established in the Constitution or by the General Assembly, or refusal to carry out a lawful directive of the Governor any member of any board, commission, council or other collegial body established by the General Assembly in the executive branch of state government except those boards provided for in subsection C of § 23.1-1300 , subsection A of § 23.1-3100, and subsection A of § 23.1-3200 (all concern the governing boards of public institutions of higher education) and fill the vacancy resulting from the removal subject to confirmation by the General Assembly.

B. The Governor shall set forth in a written public statement his reasons for removing any member pursuant to this section at the time the removal occurs. The Governor is the sole judge of the sufficiency of the cause for removal as set forth in this section.

That will stop both the hyper-progressive, in some cases arguably unconstitutional, regulations of the Board of Education and the corrupt oversight of the Department of Health in their tracks.

Board of Education. The new Board of Education can repeal every progressive outrage enacted into Department of Education regulations.

Virginia laws on education require the BOE to write regulations. They do not generally specify the content of those regulations except by subject matter. The regulations written by the BOEs appointed by McAuliffe and Northam have taken those laws off a progressive cliff.

Board of Health. The new Board of Health can begin the long process of undoing the capture of the Department of Health by the hospitals before which that Department has bowed and for which it has created and protected monopolies for 50 years.

Remember, the Virginia Certificate of Public Need law says nothing about granting monopolies. The Department of Health ‘overseen’ by the Board of Health has done that on their own for longer than most Virginians have been alive.

Day one. In both cases, the new governor reasonably can find those two boards to have been guilty of at least misfeasance — the wrongful exercise of lawful authority — for which he is the sole judge.

And fire them.

I think he will do it because it is necessary to carry out his campaign pledges. He won’t want to constantly fight a rear guard action by legacy Democratic appointees.

General Assembly confirmation. Does anyone think that after this election all 51 Democrats in the Senate will vote to deny Governor Youngkin’s replacement appointments? I don’t.

Three reasons:

  1. The departments cannot carry out Virginia law without the boards;
  2. Democrats are looking with more than a little trepidation at 2023; and
  3. They will want to make the same changes next time a Democrat is elected governor.

Bottom line. Elections have consequences.

The day-one firings of these two boards should be two of them.