Oklahoma City – Oklahoma’s state constitution, crafted under the influence of the philosophies that gained currency during the Populist and Progressive Eras of American governance, is laced with a range of structural mechanisms that keep executive power from concentrating in the hands of the state’s chief executive (governor).
Oklahoma governors are, traditionally, weaker than their peers in other states, but many governors have managed to impact the direction of policy through appointments.
The referenced structure created at the time of statehood included explicit provisions that divided appointment powers between the governor and the heads of both chambers of the state Legislature – the House and the Senate.
This past legislative session, the Legislature moderately enhanced the powers of the chief executive, in an effort to improve the efficiency and rationality of gubernatorial options when it comes to state agency governance.
However, within the new framework of various reforms, which included the LOFT (Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency) , both the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate have retained several important executive-like powers.
Despite the recent reforms, the new structure still reflects at least many practical aspects of the divided powers envisioned when the Sooner State was created (from Oklahoma and Indian Territories) in the early Twentieth Century.
The Pro Temp’s power, in addition to guidance of the legislative process in the upper chamber, includes direct power to select nominees to arms of state government as varied as the Commission on the Status of Women and the Office of Juvenile Affairs.
This past legislative cycle, CapitolBeatOK reported on Treat’s selection of Professor Nyla Ali Khan to the Commission, and the selection of Timothy Tardibono to serve on the governing board at the Office of Juvenile Affairs.
The information that follows, which is not exhaustive, is a representative sample, drawn from Senate press releases in May and June. It documents other recent appointments of Greg Treat, an Oklahoma City Republican, the current Senate President Pro Temp.
Sketching Other Treat Appointments
In mid-June, Sen. Treat appointed Randy Curry of Weatherford to the board of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Curry is currently rural health coordinator for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University School of Pharmacy. Before that, he spent more than 30 years in retail pharmacy. Curry holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from SWOSU.
“Maintaining access to quality, affordable health care in rural Oklahoma is an incredibly important issue that our health care leaders are focused on. With more than 30 years of retail pharmacy experience and work with SWOSU supporting a network of more than 300 rural pharmacies and some hospitals, Randy Curry is well situated to provide insight on how the OHCA can effectively serve the rural health care community. I appreciate Mr. Curry’s willingness to serve and know he’ll do a great job working with the OHCA board and staff to improve the delivery of health care services across our state,” Treat said in a press release sent to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations.
Curry was Treat’s second appointment to the OHCA under new government accountability measures signed into law earlier this year. He has previously named Bob Boyd of Owasso to the board.
Also in June, Pro Temp Treat announced two appointments to the board of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services: Kari Stomprud and Dr. Carisa Wilsie, both of Yukon. The designations were made in accord with the new government accountability measures he guided through the Legislature in cooperation with Speaker of the House Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Governor Kevin Stitt.
In his press release on the two appointments, Treat reflected, “Mental health and substance abuse issues gather a lot of attention in relation to criminal justice reform, but we must not overlook the significant impact mental health and addiction issues have on kids in school and kids in the child welfare system.
“As a public school teacher, Kari Stomprud brings a great perspective on the great need to address addiction and mental health issues in our schools so kids can get healthy and be successful.
“Dr. Carisa Wilsie, as a child welfare expert, has insight on how we can better manage the mental health and addiction issues of children served by DHS. I appreciate the willingness of Mrs. Stomprud and Dr. Wilsie to serve and I know they’ll do an excellent job.”
Stomprud serves as the special needs coordinator at Canadian Valley Technology Center in El Reno, and before that was a special education facilitator and special education teacher at Yukon High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Mississippi and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Wilsie is an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and is a clinical assistant professor in the section of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She is a frequent lecturer and author on child behavioral and psychology issues.
Wilsie holds a bachelor’s degree in family psychology from Oklahoma Baptist University, a master’s degree in clinical child psychology from Auburn University, and a doctor of philosophy in clinical psychology and clinical child psychology from Auburn University.
In early May, Treat announced variety of other appointments to various boards and commissions. In making these particular appointments, Treat encouraged Oklahomans looking for a way to serve to contact his office or visit the “Appointments” section of the Oklahoma Senate website (www.oksenate.gov) to learn about other opportunities to serve.
Here is a sketch of those May appointments from Sen. Treat:
- Ken Jones, Duncan, to serve as a member of the Commission on the Prevention of Abuse of Elderly and Vulnerable Adults in a new position as a representative of a local area agency on aging.
- Nichole Gillett, Oklahoma City, to serve as a member of the Commission on the Prevention of Abuse of Elderly and Vulnerable Adults in a new position as a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association.
- Elwood “Kenny” Eden, Ochelata, reappointed to serve as a member of the Committee of Mechanical Examiners for the remainder of a term expiring October 8, 2019 and then continuing to serve a two-year term that expires October 8, 2021.
- Brendan Wolverton, Lawton, to serve as a member of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees for a four-year term that began immediately and expires January 8, 2023. Wolverton represents a member who has demonstrated experience as a professional investment manager. The position was previously held by Brian Maddy.
- Hearne Williford, Tulsa, reappointed to serve as a member of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board for a term expiring November 1, 2022.
- Gordon Pennoyer, Oklahoma City, to serve as a member of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board for a term that began immediately and which will expire on October 1, 2022. Pennoyer serves as a member representing an independent energy producer and fills a vacant position previously held by Ronnie Irani, who resigned.
- Senator Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, to serve as a member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws for the remainder a four- year term that expires April 30, 2020. Daniels replaced former Senator David Holt, an Oklahoma City Republican who was elected mayor of Oklahoma City in 2018.
- Mike Bell, Norman, to serve as a member of the Self-Insurance Guaranty Fund Board for the remainder of a term expiring November 1, 2019 and then continuing to serve a new term that expires November 1, 2022. Bell will serve as a member who is engaged in the primary practice of workers’ compensation law and fills a vacant position previously held by Mike Carter, who resigned.
- Deborah Mueggenborg, Bartlesville, to serve as a member of the Board of Investors of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund for a four-year term that began immediately and expires June 30, 2023. The position was previously held by Donald Pape.
NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.