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Archive for Thursday, September 18, 2003

Panel endorses Sebelius’ appointments

September 18, 2003

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— A Senate committee Wednesday endorsed Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' recent appointments of a new Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent, a new member of the Kansas Parole Board and two higher education regents.

The unanimous votes by the Confirmations Oversight Committee permit the officials to hold their jobs until the Legislature reconvenes in January and the entire Senate has a chance to vote. The committee's friendly questioning indicated that none should face significant opposition then.

The committee blessed Col. William Seck as patrol superintendent; Sen. Paul Feleciano, D-Wichita, for the parole board; and former Sen. Frank Gaines, of Augusta, and Nelson Galle, a Manhattan business consultant, for the board of regents.

Feleciano faced the toughest questions, over how he would make sure that the parole board did not release criminals who claimed they were rehabilitated but committed serious crimes again while on parole. However, committee members praised his appointment.

Feleciano said he would talk regularly to law enforcement officials and members of an offender's home community. He promised to do homework while a board member.

Seck faced questions about filling vacancies in the patrol and whether he would change standards to attract more potential troopers.

"If anything, I want to raise the bar," he said. "I don't want to lower it."

Feleciano, the president of a telecommunications consulting firm, is the Legislature's longest-serving member. He was elected to the Kansas House in 1972 and served two terms before being elected to the Senate in 1976.

He also is the president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, which has about 300 members.

Like Feleciano, Gaines received praise from the committee, including members who said they talked to former legislators who wished Gaines well. Gaines, an attorney and chairman and chief executive officer of the First National Bank in Fredonia, served as a Democrat in the Kansas House in 1969-72, then in the Senate in 1973-92.

Galle has worked with manufacturing companies in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. He has been active for a decade with the Kansas State University Foundation and is a member of a president's advisory board for Hesston College.

Seck came to the Highway Patrol after working 31 years with the FBI. He was formerly the senior supervisory agent in Wichita, making him responsible for all bureau operations in Kansas.

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