Kansas Governor Sam Brownback loses two cabinet officials this week

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December 10, 2013

Former Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman
Resigned Corporation Commission Chair Mark Sievers

By Maresa Strano

TOPEKA, Kansas: The state government of Kansas is dealing with a double dose of departures this week. On Dec. 9, 2013, brought the news of Kansas Corporation Commission Chairman Mark Sievers' resignation, and agriculture secretary Dale Rodman's retirement took effect the following day.

Rodman's retirement was expected, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) had already lined up a replacement -- deputy secretary Jackie McClaskey -- to take over as head of the Kansas Department of Agriculture upon his scheduled departure date. Rodman was among Brownback's first appointments when he became governor in 2011, and he said he only ever intended to serve a few years as secretary; he owns a retirement home in Texas. Rodman will, however, retain his elected role as chair of the Board of Directors of the Kansas Bioscience Authority.[1][2][3] As of December 10, McClaskey is responsible for the department charged with overseeing all operations within the state's agriculture sector.[4]

McClaskey has been with the Kansas Department of Agriculture since 2011. She has served as assistant secretary and deputy secretary. Before joining the department, she served as assistant dean of Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture.[5]

Less predictable than Rodman's departure, though not altogether shocking under the circumstances, was the announcement of Mark Sievers' resignation from the state corporation commission. Sievers was appointed to Kansas' regulatory agency in 2011 and became its chair in May of that year. His term is valid through March 2015, but he has decided to leave office early, on the heels of a tumultuous year in the chairmanship. Despite the well-publicized issues surrounding his service on the commission, Sievers cited the desire to spend more time with his wife and family as his reason for stepping down. He will remain in the position until a replacement can be appointed to serve out the rest of his term.[6][7] Brownback will select the new chair early next year.

In addition to the chair, there are two other members of the regulatory panel empowered "to supervise and control the electric public utilities" in the state of Kansas, per K.S.A. 66-101a.[8] Currently the two commissioners are Thomas E. Wright and Shari Feist Albrecht. Sievers' transition out of the chair post should not affect their role.[9]

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