Mar 7, 2011

Senate Republicans give Snyder appointees a free pass

LANSING – Michigan Senate Republicans completely neglected their statutory duty of advise and consent, and none of Gov. Rick Snyder’s department heads will face a confirmation hearing.

The 60-day window expired on Monday, and not a single Snyder appointee had to face a Senate hearing. It’s even worse when you consider Snyder wants to give more power to the Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) who can suspend union contracts and fire elected officials. That EFM, which can also be a corporation, is appointed by the State Treasurer, and the EFM has almost zero oversight.

That advise and consent duty was not ignored by the Republican controlled Senate when we had a Democratic Governor. In fact, Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s appointees had a full public hearing, and at times faced some uncomfortable questions.

The Republican Senate did basically the same thing when Republican John Engler was the Governor, but they at least made an attempt, holding hearings in the first two years of his 12-year tenure. This Senate is not even pretending it’s being fair and doing their job.

Bob McCann, Senate Democratic communications director told subscription only Gongwer that the Senate's handling of the advice and consent hearing during Ms. Granholm's tenure was thorough and quick.

"It's disappointing that they would break with that tradition and essentially ignore one of the most basic components of a system of checks and balances that we have," McCann said in Gongwer. "Certainly background checks can give you cursory information about an individual. ... We need to be able to hear what their qualifications are and what direction they're looking to go in."

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