I was once appointments secretary for a governor – not appointments as in scheduling, but appointments of public officials and members to state boards and commissions. I had to vet candidates and make recommendations to the governor for jobs and appointments. I was the first woman to hold that position in state history. I take great pride in that. However, for every one person I made happy, I made 10 mad because they did not get the appointment they sought. When someone received the appointment, the governor got all the credit of course. But I got all the blame.
Not always a fun job, but one that made me many outstanding connections across the state and taught me a tremendous amount about government and politics.
A governor will have over 3,500 appointments during his or her four-year term, and Gov. Kay Ivey has appointed some fine people to public office, boards and commissions. She has chosen the best of the best to hold positions across the board of state government. She chose former congressman and a gentleman among gentlemen, Jo Bonner, for the position of chief of staff. Jo is a true leader with great institutional knowledge.
She hit a homerun when she appointed State Rep. Bill Poole to serve as finance director. He is a solid conservative voice and has proven experience working with the state’s budget and both sides of the aisle. He is has proven experience and is honest and dependable to say the least.
She appointed Justice Will Sellers to the Supreme Court – an excellent choice. He is a scholar and a steady, conservative voice of reason on the court.
Hal Taylor was appointed to serve as secretary of public safety. He is an experienced member of law enforcement having worked for the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and former governors. He is honest to a fault.
Then Gov. Ivey did what she encouraged me to do years ago when I was Gov. Fob James’ appointments secretary, which was look for qualified women to serve. She found them too. Justice Lyn Stuart, a former district, circuit and Supreme Court justice became chief justice of the high court.
Gov. Ivey has since appointed Justice Stuart and long-time vice president and general Cocnsel of Protective Life Corp. Debbie Long to serve as commissioners of the Alabama Ethics Commission. Those are two people who will always be fair and thorough in their decisions.
Liz Filmore was appointed as the governor’s deputy chief of staff. Filmore is a hard worker and a smart young lady with a bright future. She is one half of a Montgomery power couple with husband, William Filmore, the governor’s top legislative leader. They are a dynamic duo.
Gov. Ivey also appointed former Supreme Court Justice Jean Brown to serve in her cabinet as director of senior services. Few people have Brown’s integrity nor the commitment to a good cause.
Finally, Gov. Ivey hit a grand slam when she appointed Major Gen. Sheryl Gordon to adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard. She is the first woman in that position and a highly qualified one who is revered by her peers.
These are just a few of the outstanding appointments Gov. Ivey has made, and truly, she has chosen the best of the best.
Beth Chapman is Alabama’s former State Auditor and 51st Secretary of State. She now owns and operates Beth Chapman & Associates, LLC. She can be reached at Beth@bethchapman.com.