Arizona Commissioner of Lands

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 12:44, 15 July 2013 by KristenM (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Arizona Commissioner of Lands
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012 FY Budget:  $15,349,400
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   Serves at pleasure of the governor
Authority:  Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 37, Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 131
Selection Method:  Appointed by governor
Current Officeholder

Vanessa Hickman.jpg
Name:  Vanessa Hickman
Assumed office:  November 2012
Compensation:  $131,500
Other Arizona Executive Offices
GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerSuperintendent of Public InstructionAuditorAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorLands CommissionerLabor DirectorCorporation CommissionState Mine Inspector
The Arizona Commissioner of Lands is a state executive position in the Arizona state government. The commissioner heads the Arizona State Land Department, which manages the State Trust, a 9.2 million acre parcel of land set aside to economically benefit Arizona's public schools and several other public institutions. The commissioner, as head of the Land Department, seeks "to manage State Trust lands and resources to enhance value ... consistent with sound stewardship, conservation, and business management principles."[1]

Current officeholder

The current commissioner is Vanessa Hickman, who was selected first as the interim director and then the permanent replacement in November 2012.[2] As the lands commissioner serves at the pleasure of the governor, Hickman is not subject to reappointment.

Hickman replaces Maria Baier, who was first appointed in June 2009 and served until her resignation in November 2012.


The office of commissioner is established by statute.[3]

Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 37, Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 131

A. There shall be a state land commissioner who shall be the executive officer of the state land department.


Per state law, the commissioner must be at least eighteen years old, a citizen of the United States, able to speak, read and write English, and registered with the selective service. Otherwise, there are no special qualifications required.[4]

Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 38, Chapter 2, Article 1, Section 211

A. Every officer shall be not less than eighteen years of age, a citizen of the United States and a resident of this state.

B. No person is eligible to any office, employment or service in any public institution in the state, or in any of the several counties thereof, of any kind or character, whether by election, appointment or contract, unless he is a citizen of the United States, but the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the employment of any teacher, instructor or professor authorized to teach in the United States under the teacher exchange program as provided by federal statutes or the employment of university or college faculty members.

C. A person who is unable to speak, write and read the English language is not eligible to hold a state, county, city, town or precinct office in the state, whether elective or appointive, and no certificate of election or commission shall issue to a person so disqualified.

D. Except as provided in subsection E, a person is not eligible for employment by or service for the state or a political subdivision of the state, including all boards and commissions of the state or political subdivision, all multimember governing bodies of departments, agencies, institutions and instrumentalities of the state or political subdivisions unless the person has registered with the selective service system if required by the federal military selective service act (62 Stat. 604; 50 United States Code App. section 453).


The commissioner is appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate and serves at the governor's pleasure.[3]

Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 37, Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 131

B. The commissioner shall be appointed by the governor pursuant to section 38-211 and shall serve at the pleasure of the governor.

Term limits

There are no term limits for the office of lands commissioner.


If a vacancy occurs, the governor nominates a new appointee to the senate. If the departing incumbent is able to continue to hold office until the new appointee qualifies, he or she does so. Otherwise, the nominee assumes office pending confirmation. If the senate subsequently rejects the nominee, the governor makes a new appointment.

In general, a vacancy appointee serves the unexpired term of the previous officeholder.[5]

Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 38, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 211

B. If the term of any state office which is appointive pursuant to this section expires, begins or becomes vacant during a regular legislative session, the governor shall during such session nominate a person who meets the requirements of law for such office and shall promptly transmit the nomination to the president of the senate. If the incumbent is capable of continuing to serve until his successor has qualified, a nominee to that position shall not assume and discharge the duties of the office, pending senate confirmation. If the incumbent is unable to continue to discharge the duties of office, the nominee shall assume and discharge the duties of the office pending senate confirmation. If the senate consents to the nomination, the governor shall then appoint the nominee to serve for the term or, in the case of a vacancy, for the unexpired term in which the vacancy occurred. If the senate rejects the nomination the nominee shall not be appointed and the governor shall promptly nominate another person who meets the requirements for such office. If the senate takes no formal action on the nomination during such legislative session, or if a nomination other than one that is required to be sent to the senate during the first week of the legislative session is not received during the session, the governor shall after the close of such legislative session appoint the nominee to serve, and the nominee shall discharge the duties of office, subject to confirmation during the next legislative session.


The lands commissioner heads the Arizona Department of Lands, which manages the state's land trust. The State Trust is the amalgamation of federal land devolved to Phoenix's control when Arizona became a state in 1863 along with land taken in 1910 from individual townships. The purpose of the trust is to provide revenue for 14 beneficiaries; the state's public school system receives 87 percent of the trust's revenue, with the remainder taken by organizations like the University of Arizona, and the Executive & Judicial Buildings fund. Revenue is generated by leasing or selling the trust's land to private real estate or mineral/resource developers. In 2007, the Land Department generated $332 million in revenue.[6]

Besides selling or leasing land for commercial use, the commissioner may sell recreational permits for the use of state lands or close state lands entirely if he deems it in the interests of the state land trust. He or she also arbitrates disputes over the use of state land.

The lands commissioner has the power to withhold economic and engineering analyses "collected during the urban planning process from public viewing before they are submitted to local planning and zoning authorities."[7]

Click here to view larger-scale image of the Arizona Department of Lands Organizational Chart as of March 19, 2013.


The Lands Department includes several individual divisions:[8]

  • Natural Resource Division
  • Real Estate Division
  • Land Information, Title, and Transfer Division
  • Administration
  • Information Systems and Resource Analysis Division
  • Board of Appeals

State budget

The budget for the State Land Department in Fiscal Year 2012 was $15,349,400.[9]


In 2010, the commissioner of lands received compensation in the amount of $131,500.[10] His or her compensation is determined by the Department of Administration in its annual recommendation to the legislature.[11]

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Arizona Commissioner of Lands has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Arizona + Lands + Commissioner + Hickman

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Arizona Commissioner of Lands News Feed

  • Loading...

Contact info


Physical address:
1616 W. Adams Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: (602) 542-4631

See also

External links