More decisions need to be made to complete Ivey’s transition to governor

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Governor Kay Ivey’s first day on the job was a full one, but there are still more decisions to come as she transitions into her new role leading the state.

Some of those decisions include appointments, including who will stay and who will go from her cabinet.

The new governor’s office confirms Jon Mason is out as head of SERVE Alabama. The decision, effective immediately, is part of larger evaluations Ivey is doing to determine what needs to change under her leadership.

WHNT News 19 learned other cabinet changes may be coming. As of the time of this publication, her gubernatorial cabinet page is blank online. Gov. Ivey’s office confirms she asked all Bentley cabinet and staffers or letters of resignation, but so far Mason’s is the only one she has accepted.

Sam Givhan, Chairman of the Madison County GOP, is familiar with transitions. He was a part of former governor, Robert Bentley’s, transition team in 2010.

“Filling her cabinet is going to be critical because that is going to be how she is going to interact with agencies, with the Legislature in some respects, and with the public,” he commented.

Givhan said according to his experience, these decisions are made based on trust.

“It is very important that she trust those people to do, not only what is best for the state of Alabama, but to be loyal to her,” he explained. “She’s going to have some insight into how those departments are proceeding because she has been Lieutenant Governor for the past six years.”

Reappointing key cabinet members is a staple of any transition into new state leadership, but Givhan believes it is not likely Ivey will do a complete overhaul. He said she may already have relationships with those who are already at the Capitol, and she must also consider other factors including the fact they’re right in the middle of a Legislative session, that her term may only last for two years, and that there is lots of talent already in Montgomery.

“There are a number of people that are extremely talented and experienced right now, and that she will probably retain,” he said. “It’s important to have a quick transition team, or quick transition, because we are right here in the middle of a session so we don’t need to have a void of leadership for very long.”

A spokeswoman for Governor Ivey’s office explained that because Ivey is just getting started, many decisions about cabinet members, departments, and programs are on the radar but have not yet been made. She said the governor needs time to evaluate, and she is looking into everything she has inherited.

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