The Kansas governor’s website lists about 185 different boards and commissioners to which the governor appoints members.
The authority of some of those boards and commissions is far-reaching, while the charge of some is relatively small. Nonetheless, all of those bodies are important to at least some segment of the population of Kansas. University communities are especially interested in those appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents, but Kansas hairdressers also are greatly affected by those appointed to the Kansas State Board of Cosmetology.
This is a busy time of year for Kim Borchers, who serves as Gov. Brownback’s director of appointments, because many terms on state boards and commissions are set to expire on June 30, the end of the state’s fiscal year. On Friday, Borchers said that the terms of about 120 members of 50-plus boards are due to expire at the end of this month. As is customary, not all of those appointments will be made right away and many appointees will simply continue to serve until they are reappointed or replaced.
The list of appointments is a little shorter this year. No appointments will be needed for the Kansas Parole Board, which was abolished this year, or for the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp. and Kansas Inc., whose duties were folded into the Kansas Department of Commerce. However, although the governor vetoed all of its funding and dismissed its staff, the Kansas Arts Commission continues to exist and has six expiring terms that Brownback must fill.
The Board of Regents has one vacant position and two other members who will complete their terms on June 30. Four of the 15 members of the State Board of Healing Arts, including the board’s president and vice president, also will complete their terms, as will two of five members of the Citizens Utility Ratepayers Board.
This is just a sampling of the key appointments facing the governor.
Borchers points out that appointments to these boards and commissions cross party lines and, in many cases, come with statutory restrictions such as requiring that board members represent different congressional districts. For anyone interested in serving in these positions the application and other information is conveniently located on the governor’s website. “Everyone can serve on a board,” Borchers said.
That technically is true, but certain applications probably are more likely to get the attention of Borchers and Brownback than others. Although many, probably most, of the appointments are volunteer positions, some of them carry significant salaries. Like any elected official, Brownback had people who financially supported his election campaign and might like to be considered for one of those slots. The people a governor appoints to boards — especially those that have a large statewide impact — also can be a reflection of the importance he or she places on that board or perhaps an indication of a direction he or she would like that board to take.
The decisions Kansas voters make at the polls set the tone for state government, but it’s important to remember how many of the details are left to appointed boards. It’s also a reminder of the importance of monitoring those boards and perhaps even stepping up to seek an appointment.