In some not-so-shocking news, many of Missouri’s more than 200 boards and commissions are redundant or just plain unnecessary.
Now, a new report has outlined plans to eliminate many of those same groups.
Earlier this year, Gov. Eric Greitens ordered a task force to study the state’s boards and commissions, many of which had not met in years or were continuing to meet with holdover members whose terms had expired years ago.
Five percent of the groups were unable to meet because due to a lack of a quorum. And 70 percent of these governor-controlled seats were either vacant or held by members whose terms had expired, an earlier auditor’s report found.
The new report, aptly named “Recommendations to Shrink Government,” makes the case for some much-needed and long overdue streamlining.
Nearly 450 board and commission positions would be eliminated if all of the recommendations are followed. Greitens, who ordered up the report and who has sharply criticized this elaborate web of government bloat, has given every indication that he’s inclined to start cutting.
For that, the governor deserves credit.
Boards or commissions that hadn’t been meeting risked being eliminated altogether or having their functions rolled into broader umbrella groups.
For example, a new 12-member agriculture board could absorb separate boards for cotton growers, milk, wine and grape, the agriculture and small business development authority and a pet/spay/neuter fund. Accompanying advisory groups with a more narrow focus would be appointed by the department director or chair of the new board.
The five-member Missouri Alternative Fuels Commission has not met for eight years, raising obvious questions about its necessity. The report calls for rolling it into the new agricultural board.
Greitens’ predecessor, Gov. Jay Nixon, laid the groundwork for this realignment — intentionally or not — by leaving appointments unfilled for years. In a dereliction of gubernatorial duty, Nixon left not only more obscure board seats unfilled, he also left far more essential positions vacant.
These boards and commissions have a significant impact on some important state functions, including the licensing of medical professionals, economic development efforts, Missouri prisons, universities and public education, including charter schools.
Among the boards and commissions on the list for re-evaluation were the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board, the Holocaust Education and Awareness Commission and the Administrative Law Judge Review Committee.
Experts in affected subject areas had ample time to weigh in, as surveys were sent out by the task force and testimony was taken. But if any affected organization wants to argue that eliminating a particular board or commission would do a disservice to Missourians, now is the time to speak up.
Then the governor should get to work shrinking this overgrown corner of state government.