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Holden announces appointments

December 06, 2000
By: John Sheridan
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Past government officials and lawyers will hold the top positions in the office of Missouri's next governor, Bob Holden.

Holden announced top appointments to his administration including chief of staff, chief counsel and commissioner for administration, but revealed little on how his new administration will address issues like the tobacco settlement, abortion, transportation and the Republican controled senate.

"This is an experienced and talented team that will serve the people of Missouri well in the months and years to come," Holden said as he announced the appointments.

Julie Gibson will serve as chief of staff. She has been Holden's chief of staff in the Tresurer's office since 1999. Holden described her as a "motivator who makes things happen."

The administration will have two attorneys on staff, including chief counsel, Ralls County Associate Circuit Judge Glenn Norton.

Joe Bednar, former Gov. Carnahan's chief legal counsel, will be retained by Holden during the transition and will remain on staff to work on key issues like the tobacco settlement and the Hancock amendment.

Mike Hartmann will serve as office of administration commissioner. He currently serves as Gov. Roger Wilson's chief of staff, a position he also held for Gov. Carnahan.

Greg Barnes will serve as deputy chief of staff for boards and commissions. He will oversee the filling of over 400 vacancies on boards and commissions.

"I reached out across the state of Missouri to pull people into this administration," Holden said.

According to Holden, hundreds of applicants applied for positions in the administration. He said other staff hirings will be announced within a week to ten days.

Holden, however, is not rushing appointments.

"This is a transition between two Democratic administrations so I want to take time to make good decisions," he said.

In what might be a major shift in administration policy, Holden told reporters he did not know if he would recommend Missourians have a vote on a spending plan for tobacco settlement funds.

Holden said he was keeping his options open for discussions with legislative leaders.

"I don't want, if at all possible, to be stalemated in the General Assembly and nothing happens," Holden said in explaining his decision to discuss the issue with legislators before taking a position. "I want the issue to be resolved."

Last year, the a plan for distributing the money -- $6.7 billion during the next 20 years -- died from a partisan gridlock in the legislature.

This year, the session will start with Republicans holding a one-vote majority in the Senate. But Holden express confidence.

"I can work with anybody who is committed to this state's future." He added, "I look at the Senate split as a time for opportunity."

Holden also said he has not yet met with gubernatorial opponent Jim Talent, and would not comment on whether he would offer the Congressman a position in his new administration.