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Archive for Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kansas gov.-elect fills banking, water positions

January 1, 2011

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— Kansas Gov.-elect Sam Brownback announced Friday that he's appointing a new bank commissioner and said he's keeping a key water policy official from outgoing Gov. Mark Parkinson's administration.

The new bank regulator will be Ed Splichal, a retired Belleville bank president. Brownback is retaining Tracy Streeter as director of the Kansas Water Office, an agency that coordinates planning for the state's water conservation efforts and helps draft water policy.

Both appointments must be confirmed by the state Senate once Brownback, a Republican, takes office Jan. 10. Neither is expected to face opposition from the GOP-dominated Legislature. Parkinson is a Democrat.

"Both men bring great experience and vision to their respective positions," Brownback said in a statement announcing the appointments.

Brownback also has said he expects to finish selecting the Cabinet secretaries who'll run major agencies next week. He scheduled a news conference for Monday to announce his appointees for secretary of social and rehabilitation services and secretary of health and environment.

The bank commissioner's office regulates not only state-chartered banks but savings and loans, mortgage companies and other lenders. Governors traditionally pick someone with strong ties to the industry.

Splichal, 67, began his career at a Hutchinson bank in the 1970s, then worked 32 years for the First National Bank in Belleville, retiring as its president in 2008. He's been active in industry groups, including the influential Kansas Bankers Association.

Judi Stork, the office's longtime deputy commissioner, has been serving as acting commissioner since June, when Commissioner Tom Thull resigned to take a job with the Federal Home Loan Bank in Topeka. Thull, a Democrat, was a former Newton bank executive who had served in the Kansas House. Splichal is a Republican.

Streeter, 47, also is a Republican, but he's served two Democratic governors — Parkinson and his predecessor, Kathleen Sebelius — as director of the Water Policy Office since 2004. Before that, Streeter worked 19 years for the State Conservation Commission, including as its executive director.

Streeter noted that he worked with Brownback on water issues when Brownback was Kansas secretary of agriculture from 1986 to 1993. A division in the Department of Agriculture regulates water use and the allocation of water rights.

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