Gov. Mary Fallin has given herself more time to appoint a secretary of state.
The governor on Thursday named Assistant Secretary of State Michelle Day to succeed Glenn Coffee. Day begins her new duties Friday.
Fallin intends to name a permanent secretary of state before the legislative session ends in late May, said Alex Weintz, the governor's communications director.
“The governor is talking to several different candidates,” he said.
Fallin was required to fill the post before Coffee left. His last day was Thursday.
“Michelle Day has done an outstanding job running the daily operations of the secretary of state's office,” Fallin said. “Her appointment as secretary of state on an interim basis will ensure continuity of services in that department while we search for a permanent replacement for Glenn Coffee.”
The secretary of state appointment needs Senate confirmation. If Fallin doesn't name a permanent secretary of state before the session ends, she will have to name a different interim secretary of state, he said.
While she serves as interim secretary of state, Day's salary will be based on the position's annual salary of $88,036, Weintz said.
Preston Doerflinger, director of the state Office of Management and Enterprises Services and serves on Fallin's Cabinet as finance secretary, has taken over Coffee's duties as chief budget negotiator with lawmakers, Weintz said.
Day, 50, has worked as assistant secretary of state since January 2011. Before that she worked as deputy state auditor and general counsel for the state auditor and inspector's office and as an assistant Oklahoma County district attorney.
Coffee, one of Fallin's top advisers, was appointed to the post after Fallin took office in January 2011. He announced his resignation in December.
Delays in search
Weintz said the Christmas holiday interrupted search efforts and the governor last month has been focusing on her budget. She will release her budget Monday as part of her State of the State speech that opens the legislative session.
Coffee is a former state senator and the first Republican in Oklahoma history to serve as a GOP leader of the Senate. An attorney, he recently bought the practice of Lee Slater, a former state Election Board secretary who was hired last month as executive director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. Slater starts his new duties Friday.
Coffee will still be involved in state affairs.
Fallin has asked him to continue his role in talks aimed at resolving a federal lawsuit filed in 2011 by the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations to stop Oklahoma's plans to draw water from Sardis Lake in Pushmataha County and deliver it to Oklahoma City.
His hourly rate and the nature of his contract will be subject to negotiations and agreement with the state attorney general's office, Weintz said.
The state Senate plans to retain Coffee as its legal counsel, said Nate Atkins, spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa. The post had been filled by Slater.
Details with Coffee have yet to be worked out, Atkins said.
At a glance
The office of the secretary of state serves as a registry of Oklahoma's official documents, filing and certifying executive orders, appointments and proclamations as well as publishing new statutes. The secretary of state also serves on the governor's Cabinet.
Michelle Day has done an outstanding job running the daily operations of the secretary of state's office. Her appointment as secretary of state on an interim basis will ensure continuity of services in that department while we search for a permanent replacement for Glenn Coffee.”
Gov. Mary Fallin,