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Schweich assembles leadership team as he prepares to take office Jan. 10

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 20, 2010 - State Auditor-elect Tom Schweich, a Republican, has a holiday gift for the longtime professional audit staff in the office: They're keeping their jobs.

Schweich said in an interview this morning that he was impressed with their qualifications and skills. Schweich -- who ousted Democratic incumbent Susan Montee on Nov. 2 -- had made news, and caused some internal anxiety, several weeks ago when he asked everyone in the entire state auditor's office to submit their resumes.

Schweich said today he asked for the information so he would know the qualifications and background of those working for him. He said it was interesting that some have been working in the office since Margaret Kelly, the last Republican to hold the post, ran the office from 1984 to 1999. Democrats Claire McCaskill (1999-2007) and Montee have held the state auditor's job for the past 12 years. (McCaskill is now a U.S. senator and Montee has taken over as chair of the Missouri Democratic Party.)

"There will be a very small number of staff replacements,'' Schweich said. "There are no major changes."

Schweich is assembling a new leadership team, however, and will introduce those officials -- communications director, press secretary, etc. -- to the public on Jan. 12 at a news conference. He takes office Jan. 10.

Schweich also has found an apartment in Jefferson City and will move in shortly after the holidays. It's not unusual for Missouri statewide officials to retain their permanent homes in St. Louis, Kansas City or elsewhere in the state.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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