Executive Branch Study
Position Statement on the Executive Branch Study Committee: The LWVAZ believes that a clear line of succession in the Executive Branch of the State of Arizona should be more obvious to the public than it is in the current system where the Secretary of State assumes the role of Governor in times of absence, removal, resignation, death or other such changes. To avoid mid-term changes in party, continuity problems or policy reversals, the LWVAZ supports the creation of an Office of Lieutenant Governor with duties separate from that of the Secretary of State. In addition, the LWVAZ believes that the governor and the elected office, which is next in line of succession to the governor, should run on the same party ticket. If that office continues to be held by the Secretary of State, the League strongly believes that all partisan aspects of elections should be removed from the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State and managed by an independent body/commission.
Full Consensus Statement Providing Background for the Position Statement: The current system in which the Office of the Secretary of State is next in the line of succession for the Office of Governor does not work well for Arizona and should be changed. The possibility of changing the party of the Governor's office during the term can create continuity problems and policy reversals. If, however, the present system remains in place, the LWVAZ believes it would be somewhat preferable to require the Governor and Secretary of State to run on a same-party ticket and strongly concurs that the Office of Secretary of State should have no involvement in partisan election oversight. The LWVAZ believes that Arizona should elect a Lieutenant Governor to clarify the state's line of succession in the mind of the public. This position should be a separate office with clearly defined roles and functions. The Lieutenant Governor should not also serve as Secretary of State unless a separate body/commission overseas the elections. The LWVAZ believes that it is worth an increase in the state budget to have both a Lieutenant Governor and a Secretary of State but urges that every effort be made to minimize costs. The LWVAZ believes that it would be slightly preferable to have the new and separate Office of Lieutenant Governor chosen by the winning primary candidate for governor to run on the same ticket in the general election. It would also be acceptable to have the candidates for the new position run separately from the governor on the primary ballot with the winner appearing on the same ballot with the winning primary candidate for governor from the same party. The Office of Lieutenant Governor should handle line of succession responsibilities. There was no definitive consensus of specific duties to be assigned to that office. There was general agreement that the governor should assign duties as deemed appropriate. The most mentioned possibilities related to tourism and economic development. If the Office of Secretary of State is in the line of succession for the Office of Governor, the LWVAZ believes the position must be an elected one. If the position is not in the line of succession and not in control of the partisan aspects of elections, it would be acceptable to have it become an appointed position. The LWVAZ did not reach consensus as to whether candidates for the Office of Secretary of State should run in non-partisan elections. If, however, a separate Office of Secretary of State were appointed (outside the line of succession) but by the legislature or governor, the LWVAZ believes that it would only be possible for that position to provide non-partisan service if all partisan aspects of elections are managed by an independent body/commission. There was no clear consensus on what nominating and/or appointing procedures should be used if the Office of Secretary of State became an appointed position. The LWVAZ does agree that clearly defined qualifications for the office should be required. The consensus also asked leagues for some unusual solutions--different line of succession that might be more affordable and/or beneficial. The most frequently mentioned were removing the Office of Secretary of State from the line of succession and possibly having the LWV form a task force to analyze the job description and responsibilities for the office. In addition, there was a lot of discussion regarding the large number of elected administrative positions in the state without clearly defined qualifications.