Mo. Senate Delays Confirmation Of Nixon's O.A. Chief Over Airplane Purchase

Jan 24, 2013

Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) choice to head up his Office of Administration will have to wait a bit longer before permanently taking over.

Acting Commissioner Doug Nelson’s confirmation is being delayed in the Missouri Senate after news broke that the State Highway Patrol spent around $5.6 million on a new airplane, which has been designated for use by the Governor and other statewide officials.  State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia), who sponsored Nelson’s nomination, first wants to know who made the decision to buy the plane, and why.

“At this point it’s being portrayed both by OA and the (Highway) Patrol as the Patrol’s decision," Schaefer said.  "I don’t know if that’s true or not – ultimately it was the Patrol’s decision, but I think we need to start with the Patrol and find out what their purpose was.”

Senate Republicans say lawmakers should have played a role in deciding whether the purchase of the King Air 250 was necessary.  Meanwhile, MSHP Colonel Ron Replogle says the plane was bought to upgrade the Patrol's fleet and that he would answer senators' questions.

"I have nothing to hide and we will be up front with how we did this and why we did this," Replogle said.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport