John Hickenlooper is moving fast to build his administration. Since December 31, he's announced more than a dozen appointments, including three yesterday alone: Barbara Kelley will remain as director of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, Larry Trujillo will continue as head of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, and James Davis will become the executive director of the Department of Public Safety.
There are more announcements to come -- but not as many as Hickenlooper got to make when he became mayor of Denver.
Hickenlooper had an eye on Denver's budget from the beginning and never filled as many full-time spots as he could have -- up to 65, according to the Denver City Charter, including ten cabinet officers, five other charter officers (including police and fire chief), and fifty other positions selected by the mayor.
The governor of Colorado gets to make about half that number of full-time appointments. That's one of the reasons some political pundits consider the office of governor less powerful than the office of Denver mayor (and then there's that pesky legislature the governor must deal with, compared to the relative cake walk of handling Denver City Council).
But there are also a host of part-time and unpaid state spots that Hickenlooper will be able to fill. Evan Dreyer, spokesman for Governor Bill Ritter, puts the number of full-time gubernatorial appointees at about thirty. "Although there are some commissioners who are paid, the vast, vast, vast majority are all volunteer," he says.
Right now, the governor-elect is focusing on filling the major slots, working off the reports from 23 issue committees and endless interviews. "We'd like as many cabinet picks in place as possible by Tuesday," says spokesman Eric Brown. "That may or may not happen."
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