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Wise to announce appointments

by Randy Coleman

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHARLESTON -- Gov.-elect Bob Wise plans to use a press conference today to announce at least 10 appointments to his administration, including his chief of staff and directors of the Department of Natural Resources and a new southern West Virginia development office.

Wise also plans to name legislative, communications, constituent services, technology and tourism directors, a chief of operations and deputy chief of staff, Wise spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin said Wednesday.

The announcements are planned for 12:45 p.m. at the Capitol.

Wise had previously filled five executive positions and the shaping of his administration is ahead of schedule, said transition director David Satterfield.

"We're pleased with the progress and astounded at the number of talented professionals who are dedicated enough to want to serve West Virginia," Satterfield said.

More than 500 people have applied for administration positions.

However, Steve White, a Charleston lawyer who is also a member of Wise's transition team, said some potential candidates are not available because "they are making considerably more money in the private sector."

The transition team has "attempted to fill cabinet-level positions first, so those people would have a hand in hiring their subordinates. We've taken a hierarchal approach," said Satterfield.

"We're basically looking at positions that are established. The structure of the government is pretty well set, so what we've tried to do is get key leaders in place."

Goodwin would not disclose the appointees. But sources confirmed to The Associated Press that Wise would name Satterfield as chief of staff, a position now held in Gov. Cecil Underwood's administration by Jim Teets.

Although Wise had hinted during his election campaign that he might restructure some areas of state government, restructuring is "not a priority at this time," White said.

Satterfield has been chief of staff for West Virginia University President David Hardesty.

Wise also plans to name former Senate President Keith Burdette, of Wood County, as legislative director, a position now held by Mike Greer, and Logan County Commissioner Art Kirkendoll as southern West Virginia economic coordinator, sources said. Kirkendoll's position would be new.

On Thursday, Wise is also expected to announce that former DNR director Ed Hamrick will retake that position, replacing John Rader.

Wise also was expected to name Bill Case, new service director at West Virginia University's Health Sciences Center, as communications director. That position is now held by Dan Page.

Among other appointments, Wise plans to name his campaign manager, Susan Small Plante, as constituent services director and Charleston attorney and transition steering committee member Nikki Barone as deputy chief of staff.

Wise previously said former Transportation Secretary Fred VanKirk will retake his old job and that Paul Nusbaum, president of a Charleston health care consulting firm, will become the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, the state's largest agency.

Wise had also named former University System Board of Trustees Chairwoman Kay Huffman Goodwin as secretary of Education and the Arts, and named Charleston City Manager Greg Burton as secretary of Administration.

Although Wise had hinted during his election campaign that he might restructure some areas of state government, restructuring is "not a priority at this time," White said.

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