Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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July 3, 1998


In accordance with the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws Section 43-1-4, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 98-S 2179, "An Act Relating to Appointment, Qualification, and Tenure of Officers."

This Act unreasonably enlarges the period for Senate confirmation from thirty (30) days to thirty (30) legislative days.

Thirty legislative days can translate into months of inaction. The traditional legislative schedule, which begins in January, includes three-day work-weeks, numerous recesses of varying duration, and adjournment in the late spring or early summer. A post-adjournment or summer recess appointment could languish for as long as nine or ten months. Such delay would be grossly unfair to the many Rhode Islanders who wish to perform public service on state boards and to the boards, which will not be at full membership for extended periods of time.

If gubernatorial appointments are important enough to require Senate advice and consent, they should be important enough to warrant swift consideration. These are positrons at the highest echelons of a state government that must operate daily and year-round. Gaps in senior management undermine administrative effectiveness as well as the provision of critical public services.

This bill may result in a decrease in the number and quality of applicants for appointment, an increase in withdrawals and holdovers, and a shortening of terms of service. It also has the potential of harming efforts to recruit the best available talent.

Although the confirmation period for most cabinet directors was enlarged last year to thirty legislative days, these directors are authorized to exercise their offices upon appointment. Most other appointees subject to advice and consent must wait until confirmation. This fact is particularly important when the Senate is out of session. An appointee to a board in August could not vote until a Senate confirmation, which under this bill could be as late as the following March.

The present thirty-day deadline for Senate action is appropriate, as was the previous fourteen-legislative-day deadline. The shorter deadlines are fairer to the appointees, the appointing authority, the state agencies affected and the Senate. The current bill would distort the confirmation process and strike a blow against public service.

For the foregoing reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support of this veto.


Lincoln Almond