What Does Plural Executive Mean In American Government?


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Anonymous answered
A plural executive is a governmental system where several, or all, of the executive branch offices are elected in their own right, resulting in a much weaker chief executive. California, Florida and other states have some form of  plural executives, but the government of Texas is one of the best examples of a plural executive, The offices of the Texas plural executive are, after the Governor (elected in his/her own right for a four year term):

  1. Secretary of State
  2. Lieutenant Governor
  3. Attorney General
  4. Comptroller of Public Accounts
  5. Commissioner of the General Land Office
  6. Commissioner of Agriculture
  7. Elected Boards and Commissions
  8. *Railroad Commission
  9. *State Board of Education

  * (all members elected in their own right, appointed if an absence occurs during a terM until the next possible election date)

Of all of these offices the only gubernatorial appointment is that of Secretary of State, whose sole responsibility is the administration and execution of elections in the State. All other Executive offices and membership on the Executive Boards listed are elected in their own right.
There are some appointed appointed Agency Directors Ex-Officio Boards and Commissions, which are appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate of Texas (in the same manner as the President of the United States and the United States Senate are involved in the process of advise and consent on Federal appointments),, but these Boards and Agencies are the exception, rather than the rule, in Texas. Some appointed bodies include the Office of State-Federal Relations, the Office of Housing and Community Affairs, the Texas Film Commission, and the Texas Music Office. Unlike most other agencies in the executive branch, the Governor exercises direct authority and has direct responsibility over these offices.

A mixture of more than 120 boards that act in particular policy areas are appointed by the Governor, with some boards and seats occupied by ex-officio members (those who automatically sit on a board or commission because they occupy another position). Board members generally serve staggered, six-year terms. Most of these boards select a chief administrator charged with overseeing daily operations. These boards and commissions cover a broad range of matters, including agriculture, health, education, utilities, and a broad range of administrative and service functions commonly associated with the state bureaucracy. The agencies below are prominent examples.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) regulates all aspects of the       
production, distribution, and sale of alcoholic drinks in the state.
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has three members that the governor appoints to staggered six-year terms. The agency was created in 1975 amidst public outcry about rapidly increasing utility rates and has jurisdiction over telephone and electric power companies. (Though natural gas is a home and commercial utility for many Texans, this resource falls under the jurisdiction of the Railroad Commission.) The PUC oversees rates and enforces rules and laws related to electricity and telecommunications. The expansion of telecommunications services and the experiment with electricity deregulation in Texas have been major areas of activity for the PUC in recent years. Telecommunications growth has meant a surge in the PUC's involvement in infrastructure development as companies move to install thousands of miles of new cable in the state.

One of the oddest Boards that is appointed by the Governor is the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is given responsibility by Article IV, Section 11, of the Texas Constitution to determine which prisoners are due to be released on parole or discretionary mandatory supervision; determine conditions of parole and mandatory supervision; determine revocation of parole and mandatory supervision; recommend the resolution of clemency matters to the Governor. While the Governor appoints the members of this Board with the advice and consent of the Senate, only the Board may make decisions regarding Parole, Pardons and Clemency.

While the Governor has the limited power to issue, for instance, one 30 day stay of execution and recommend that the Board of Pardons and Paroles issue a commutation or take other action, the Governor has no authority to do so in his/her own right. Only the Board has the authority to do so (another limit on the executive power of the Governor created by the plural executive). The Board has only issued one commutation of a death sentence since the re institution of capital punishment folling the Gregg v. Georgia decision, that of Henry Lee Lucas, who died soon after in prison from natural causes. The Board of Pardons and Paroles is currently being investigated by the Federal courts for abusing its authority in designating parolees sex offenders when they have no such convictions and other actions. The investigation and related cases are still ongoing.

There are many other appointed Boards, but the Executive offices with independent power are always elected in their own right, and as the example of the Board of Pardons and Paroles shows, even appointed boards and agencies often, once confirmed in their appointments, have the same independent power inherent in a plural executive.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
An executive branch with power divided among several independent officers and a weak chief executive

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