In early December, outgoing Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon appointed former Franklin County Presiding Commissioner Ed Hillhouse, Villa Ridge, to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, but his tenure may be short-lived.
With the entrance of new Gov. Eric Greitens last month, it is believed that all of Nixon’s last-minute appointments may be recalled. It is unclear which ones or how many will be reappointed their posts.
According to the Senate calendar, Hillhouse’s appointment is set to expire on March 1.
State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, who sits on the gubernatorial appointment committee, says Gov. Greitens has his work cut out for him in the next few weeks.
“He (Greitens) has a lot to do on boards and commissions,” Schatz said. “From what we are hearing, the governor is not going forward with any of Nixon’s appointments, but there is the opportunity for some of them to be reappointed.”
Schatz, who also chairs the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee, said he has spoken with Greitens’ staff, telling them Hillhouse would be a great asset to continue serving on the committee.
“It’s good for Franklin County to have him in that position,” Schatz said. “We just don’t know for sure when the governor will move forward on those appointments.”
With Hillhouse on the state commission, Schatz chairing two Senate transportation committees and the recent ascension of Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer to chairman of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, 2017 is shaping up to be a strong transportation year for Franklin County.
But, Schatz said many factors still depend of funding.
He said his committee will hear the Missouri Department of Transportation’s annual report this week, which will shed even more light on what direction transportation projects all over the state will go.
Hillhouse, a Republican, rounded out the six-person commission that is made up of three Democrats, one Independent and one Republican representative currently.
“I have not been asked about being reappointed, nor have I inquired,” Hillhouse said. “I am definitely willing to continue serving and from what I hear there are several people who are speaking on my behalf.”
Hillhouse admits when he was first approached about the committee, he didn’t realize the term would be so short.
“I came into it with my eyes open,” Hillhouse said. “It’s not surprising. I knew this might need to happen with a new governor coming in, especially of a different party.”
Hillhouse agrees Franklin County is in a good position with their representation in the metro area and at the state level.
“This area needs to be represented,” Hillhouse said. “With my background, I’m in a good position and I’m happy to do it.”
Hillhouse currently serves as the interim superintendent of the Meramec Valley R-III School District, stepping into his former role after the untimely death of Superintendent Randy George last summer.
Hillhouse served for 15 years as Meramec Valley School District superintendent, two terms as Franklin County presiding commissioner and five years as East-West Gateway Council of Governments executive director.