Beshear makes handful of appointments to administration

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- Gov.-elect Andy Beshear announced more high level staff appointments Friday during a Capitol press conference.

--La Tasha Buckner, who was named earlier as general counsel, will also serve as his Chief of Staff.

--Holly McCoy-Johnson was chosen as Secretary of the Finance Cabinet.

--Tom Miller, a former State Revenue Commissioner for eight years, will be returning to that post.

--Mike Berry, who recently retired as head of the Kentucky Derby Festival was tapped as Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary.

--John Hicks, who is executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers, and worked 25 years in the state budget office, was named State Budget Director.

--Former State Sen. Dorsey Ridley of Henderson will serve as Director of Legislative Services.

In addition, Susan Rieber, who served as chief of ftaff for former first lady Jane Beshear, Andy Beshear’s mother, was named by Lt. Gov.-elect Jacqueline Coleman to serve as her chief of staff.

“We are putting together a team of dynamic leaders, that mix experience with a fresh approach and energy,” Beshear said. “I am very excited about how this team is coming together. My commitment has been to get this right. Not to do it fast, but to have the right people in place. As we approach December 10, this team is certainly taking shape.”

Beshear thanked everyone who has agreed to join his team, adding, “We will have many more join our team. Some likely announced before Tuesday’s inauguration, others to come after that.”

When asked why some people, such as Coleman, who will also serve as Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, and Buckner will hold two jobs, Beshear noted it was natural for Coleman, a life-long educator to take on the dual role.

As for Buckner, he said, “La Tasha is more than up for the job of general counsel, it just took this governor-elect a little bit longer to realize I had the best person right there to be my chief of staff.”

Beshear said he was also talking to people currently in the Bevin administration, “And we are seeing some good work out of specific individuals and we are still having those conversations.”

“I was asked at one point if we were going to ask every non-merit to submit a letter of resignation and re-apply, the answer is no. Whether or not, ultimately, we want to retain someone in the future, they’re doing important work right now and we want to make sure that there is no loss of service, especially in areas where state government provides critical services.”

For those Bevin staffers who are not asked to stay, Beshear said, “One of the ways that we show civility and decency, is also how we let people know their services are no longer required. We don’t march people out with security, we treat them with dignity and respect. Whether or not we agree with how they went about their job, our goal is to wish them the best in their future, and they certainly provided service while here.”

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