Del. Terry Kilgore, Majority Leader, House of Delegates. Photo credit: WJHL

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

House Republicans backed off late yesterday afternoon from their threat to let over 1,000 appointments by former Governor Northam lapse. They did, however, single out and deny eleven appointments to a few regulatory boards that have recently been the subject of controversy:

  • Board of Education — denied three appointments, but confirmed one, Ann Holton, former judge and Secretary of Education and wife of Sen. Tim Kaine.
  • State Air Pollution Control Board — two appointments.
  • State Water Control Board — two appointments, including Tim Hayes, a long-time environmental lawyer. They did confirm one Northam appointment, however. She is from St. Paul, which is Terry Kilgore country.
  • Safety and Health Codes Board of the Department of Labor — two appointments. This is the body that adopted the controversial COVID workplace standards. However, the appointment of four members was confirmed.
  • Virginia Marine Resources Commission — two members.  This is the body that regulates fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia’s coast. There has got to be an inside story on the refusal to confirm these appointments.

Probably much to the disappointment of some BR regulars, the General Assembly confirmed all 52 Northam appointments to the boards of visitors of various institutions of higher education. These included four for the University of Virginia, four for the College of William & Mary, and five for the Virginia Military Institute, schools that have drawn fire on this blog. (Most were reappointments of current members.)

Finally, Jim Sherlock is likely to be distressed at the confirmation of all six Northam appointments to the Board of Health, four of which were reappointments of current members.

This episode is an illustration of the power of a Virginia governor to influence policy through his appointments, even after he has left office.

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21 responses to “Follow-up: Appointment War Called Off”

  1. George  Walton Avatar
    George Walton

    After convicting VMI kangaroo style of institutional racism and selecting a preening social justice law firm to affirm his slander, Governor Coonman had no business appointing members to VMI’s Board of Visitors—very disappointed in GA.

    1. John Martin Avatar
      John Martin

      “Governor Coonman” smh……

  2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “Virginia Marine Resources Commission–two members. This is the body that regulates fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean off Virginia’s coast. There has got to be an inside story on the refusal to confirm these appointments.”

    Your reminder to take your Omega-3 pill today…

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Menhaden… there’s a reason.

  3. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    Again, the war analogy is overwrought and overused. It tends to desensitize people to the real thing.

    The Board of Education is the key panel. The Board of Health needs better people, but is generally far less harmful.

    I’ll tell you one story of why the Virginia Marine Resources Commission may be in play. It has been highly controversial down here in Hampton Roads
    – for dragging its feet on oyster ground applications;
    – And for granting leases;
    – And for denying leases.

    Many such applications are disputed by those with waterside homes. There are currently 260 pending oyster ground applications, some of which were initiated as far back as 2014. You can see all of the protests.

    There are lots of hard feelings on both sides. The biggest local campaign donors live in those waterfront homes. The tourism/restaurant industry is on the other side of the dispute.

    The greens are on the watermen’s side, because they are the ones who plant the spat and nurture the oysters that clean the waters.

    Unless those greens live on the waterfront where the oyster beds are located, they they think oystering spoils their view and threatens their “privacy”.

    I went to a fierce local meeting on the subject where a woman of a certain age announced was sure the oystermen were watching her bathe. No one at the meeting knew exactly what to say. You could have heard a pin drop.

    You get the point. The Northam appointees can be assumed to be greens. I personally am with the oystermen – and the greens – on this issue. But then I don’t have to raise campaign money.

    Local general assembly members have been pressed to pick a side.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      Thanks for that insight into VMRC. It is a good example of how a regulatory agency with a low statewide profile can have a large impact in one region.

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        I was personally stunned by the fierceness of the debate. There was a uniformed policeman in attendance. I was glad.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Ack so, so how many times has Greg Garrett called you about his oyster leases?

  4. vicnicholls Avatar

    Exactly this is a bunch of RINO style crap.

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      The real problem is if you are going to pull this off, decline all the appointments made in the previous year (since the last session) you have to have the names of new folks ready to go so there are few gaps. Daunting to assemble and vet. You also guarantee that the four years from now it happens again, to your last batch of names. What goes around comes around remains the first law of the Assembly.

  5. David Wojick Avatar
    David Wojick

    The air board 2 is interesting given the Y EO calling for draft emergency regs leaving the RGGI. I imagine Y will try to fill those slots but the Senate may not confirm. Absent the 2, who is left to issue rules?

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner


    2. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner


    3. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      Youngkin will probably wait until the GA has adjourned to make his appointments. Therefore, he would not have to submit their names for confirmation until the 2023 Session.

      The Air Pollution Control Board consists of 7 members. Of the remaining 5, the terms of two are scheduled to expire June 30, 2022. Therefore, beginning July 1, 2022, Youngkin appointees could constitute a 4-3 majority of the Board’s membership. With that lineup, the Board could then request authority to issue emergency regulations repealing the RGGI provisions. There would be nothing that Democrats could do to stop it.

      1. David Wojick Avatar
        David Wojick

        So the appointees can vote before being confirmed? What is the point of confirmation?

        Sounds great if feasible.

        Per Hanar, we need to whisper on this.

        1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
          Dick Hall-Sizemore

          Yes. Board members can vote as soon as the term for which they have been apponted begins. At the same time, their appointment is subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. The same is true for judges appointed by the Governor between GA sessions to fill a vacancy. There is probably a court decision somewhere about boards on this issue. It really is needed for practical reasons because we have a part time legislature. What is the point of confirmation? To allow the GA to have the last say and override a governor if it wishes to, such as just happened.

          1. David Wojick Avatar
            David Wojick

            Fabulous! I may do an article on this.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    At the end of the day, Youngkin and the GOP’s intended path will be problematical unless they can turn the Va Senate. That’s the 600lb
    gorilla that no one is talking about but cannot be ignored.

    If they can turn one of the two – Peterson or Morrisey, they won’t have to wait for the next election. I suspect if Peterson changed parties, he’d risk
    losing his NoVa Dem constituency and Morrisely seems to me to be a real wild card who may prefer to remain in the catbird seat.

    Failing that, the GOP and Dems will continue having their skirmishes and internecine warfare, but we are not a state like Florida, Tennessee or Texas where the GOP has solid control.

    We are still a purple state and the 2% that Youngkin won by is not much of a mandate and could well go away because the urbanized areas in Virginia where 1/2 the votes are – are not going to trend GOP anytime soon despite the fervent wishes of some… Basically, the GOP has their power because of rural Va and some suburbs…that the GOP has successfully exploited and flipped over the schools, masking and CRT but keeping those folks to, for instance, dramatically change the public schools is problematical.

  7. Charlie Potatoe Avatar
    Charlie Potatoe

    Just like the RINO National Republicans-all talk, no guts.
    No wonder the Democrats regularly roll them.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    A little counter-intuitive that the outgoing gov gets to appoint rather than the incoming gov if I understand correctly.

    The sheer number of appointments is impressive. I assume they are largely not paid positions, so the appointees have to have other means of financial support.

    WRT to VMI, if anyone thought the black Superintendent of VMI was an opponent of changes at VMI – he made clear that was not the case:

    And I assume that the new gov can replace him if he wants, right?

    1. Stephen Haner Avatar
      Stephen Haner

      No, Board of Visitors hires the Supe. Governor can pressure, but the BoV decides.

      Sometimes you are fun and sometime you are frightening, Larry. You did not know that the vast majority of those are volunteer boards, with no compensation, and not always even expenses covered? And you may be better informed than half the voters..

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