Senate committee confirms Greitens’ school board appointee


Photo: Current Missouri Board of Education members Mike Jones and Vic Lenz with former Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven in south county in 2016.

By Grigor Atanesian
Columbia Missourian

JEFFERSON CITY — Eddy Justice, one of Gov. Eric Greitens’ appointees to the Missouri Board of Education, was confirmed last week at a Senate committee hearing.

Two months ago, Sen. President Pro Tem Ron Richard said he expected Greitens’ appointees to be declined. “I suspect they will be killed,” he said.

However, presiding over an April 11 committee hearing, Richard voted for Justice’s confirmation. The vote went along party lines 6-3, with the three Democrats on the committee voting against.

Justice, a Poplar Bluff insurance agent, serves as treasurer for the Missouri Republican State Committee.

Richard said the Senate will review Justice’s appointment this week, where a final vote will be required.

The confirmation comes a day after the Senate discussed a new bill limiting the governor’s ability to nominate new members to state boards or commissions.

If adopted, SB 695 would require the governor to inform the Senate in writing about any appointments made when the lawmakers aren’t in session.

It also would strip the governor of power to appoint temporary members to the Board of Education when the Senate isn’t in session.

Starting in July 2017, Greitens appointed several new members to the Missouri Board of Education. He later went to remove two of them. Two others declined the appointment and one member resigned. The board voted to fire Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven in December 2017.

The Senate has until May to confirm Greitens’ other four appointees.

At the moment, the State Board of Education lacks a quorum. One of its three serving members is Concord resident Vic Lenz, a former Lindbergh Schools administrator and Board of Education president who was appointed as a Republican by former Gov. Jay Nixon.