RICHMOND, Va. — A clerical error by former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration has essentially voided about 60 gubernatorial appointments made by McDonnell to various state boards and commissions, according to Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office.
A spokeswoman for the new governor said McDonnell’s office forgot to forward the appointments to the General Assembly for confirmation. Without legislative approval, the McAuliffe administration said it considers those board seats vacant, according to a letter sent to at least one appointee.
McAuliffe’s office has encouraged those appointees to reapply, but has not guaranteed that they will be reappointed.
“Our office will be evaluating all of these board seats in the near future,” McAuliffe’s Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney said in a letter to one McDonnell appointee. “Please let us know if you are still interested in serving on this or any other board or commission.”
But the McAuliffe administration’s interpretation of Virginia law appears to be at odds with a 1983 opinion by the state attorney general’s office, which held that gubernatorial appointees have to be actively rejected by the General Assembly in order for those appointments to be vacated.
House Republicans also appear to disagree with the McAuliffe administration’s interpretation of state law. During the last session they took specific steps to vote down a McAuliffe appointee in order to make clear that the General Assembly was rejecting the pick.
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