Uncertainty remains for two members of the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents on whether they will be reappointed to continue their service. The governor is understandably distracted by the devastation in Joplin, but as soon as possible, he should end the delay and make a final decision about these important positions.
Al Spradling and Reginald Dickson, appointed in January and April 2005 respectively by then-Gov. Matt Bunt, each have seen their six-year term on Southeast's governing board expire. And while the two continue to serve until they are renominated or other nominees are confirmed, the uncertainty from Gov. Jay Nixon's lack of action is puzzling.
"We are working through these appointments as efficiently and as appropriately as possible to make sure we have well-qualified people on these boards," said Nixon spokesman Scott Holste.
While it's somewhat understandable that a decision on the seat Dickson holds has not been made considering his term expired in April, it's puzzling why, after five months, that a decision has not been made on the seat that Spradling occupies.
Granted, Gov. Nixon of late has had his hands full with the tragedy in Joplin. But this seat has been in limbo for months, and the term expired even before the legislative session began.
Another curious aspect is state Sen. Jason Crowell's position, or lack thereof, on Spradling's reappointment. Senators sponsor regent nominees in their districts, and the appointment by the governor takes into account such support. Crowell reportedly encouraged Spradling to seek appointment to the board of regents six years ago but has said he won't "speak to hypotheticals" about the current situation. In our view, Spradling has been an exemplary regent and worthy of reappointment.
The lack of appointments to Southeast's board of regents is not the only board that the governor has yet to make appointments for. Dozens of positions around the state have yet to be filled, some reappointment situations and others vacancies.
The bottom line is that both Spradling and Dickson will continue to serve until at least the beginning of next year, and this is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the university and its board members, students and faculty all deserve the certainty brought by a final decision on who will next fill the regent positions.