Nixon withdraws Columbia representative’s curator nomination

Donald Cupps was approved by the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee.
Donald Cupps

Gov. Jay Nixon withdrew his nomination for Columbia’s seat on the UM System Board of Curators today after the appointment was held up by Senate President Pro Term Rob Mayer (R-Dexter).

By withdrawing the name of Craig Van Matre, a Columbia lawyer and MU alumnus, for the ninth district curator seat, Nixon preserved his ability to serve on the board in the future.

Nixon has the option of appointing him to the board on an interim basis when lawmakers adjourn later this month. Van Matre could then serve until January, when Senate would have to approve him. If he were not approved at this time, he would be barred from serving on the board in the future.

The Associated Press reported that approval might have been held up because of debate concerning another appointment to the state Board of Probation and Parole.

Van Matre said he did not know why his appointment was barred.

“I really don’t know how the game is played in Jefferson City,” he said. “I’m a spectator on this.”

Nixon has not informed Van Matre whether he will appoint him on an interim basis, but he said he would be open to the idea, despite the risk of serving only a six-month term.

“I don’t know how it’s going to play out,” Van Matre said. “I’m assuming that all will be well in the long run, and that I’ll have some ability to serve the needs of higher education. However that works out, I’m willing to consider it.”

Meanwhile, the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee approved the nomination of Donald Cupps, a lawyer from Cassville, as the board’s seventh district representative. A Senate confirmation vote is scheduled for Friday.

In a news release at the time of the appointment, Nixon said he was confident that Cupps would be a good representative of southwest Missouri.

“Don Cupps has long-standing, strong ties to the University of Missouri and to rural Missouri,” Nixon said in the release. “His experience in the business and agricultural communities and his dedication to public education and community service will serve the people of Missouri well on the Board of Curators.”

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