CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Unlike the new attorney general, who has inundated the media with press conferences and releases about personnel changes, the other new constitutional officer who took office last Monday has made hardly any changes.
As of Friday, Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick had submitted but one WV-11 (the state personnel form needed to hire, fire, retire, promote, demote or denote state employees.
(By contrast, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (with roughly half the personnel of the Ag Commission) has already filed 14 WV-11s.)
Helmick made his first hire Friday, naming Mike Teets of Hardy County as director of eastern operations, at a salary of $81,500. Teets, you may recall, had filed to run for agriculture commissioner in the GOP primary, then withdrew at the last minute, and threw his support to Helmick.)
Helmick said Teets will replace assistant agriculture commissioner Steve Miller. (Miller, you may also recall, was one of Helmick's opponents in the Democratic primary election and was endorsed by then-Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass.
Otherwise, Helmick said deputy commissioner Janet Fisher is retiring, and said he plans to terminate Darius Walker, director of information technology.
(Walker, you may thricely recall, was critical of a column listing the sizable pay raises Douglass gave to top administrators prior to the general election, and also had some unkind words for the then commissioner-elect.)
Helmick said he wants to get settled into the new office and deal with pressing issues -- including finalizing the commission's 2013-14 budget requests -- before delving into any personnel changes.