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McDonnell approves commerce secretary's board service

Rosalind Helderman

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell said today he sees no problem with his new Secretary of Commerce and Trade serving on corporate boards while working simultaneously for the state.

McDonnell's nominee for the chief job-creating post Bob Sledd told a Roanoke newspaper just before New Year's that he wanted to continue serving on three corporate boards, including the tobacco company Universal Corporation, and would accept a pay cut from the state to do so. Sledd said then that he needed the income the board's provide and he also wanted to stay connected to the private sector.

According to the Roanoke Times, which first reported on Sledd's corporate service, he was paid more than $224,000 for his work as a director of the Louisiana-based SCP Pool Corporation and the Richmond based Owens & Minor Co., a medical supplies distributor, last year. The Times said no information was available for his service at Universal because he was elected a director within the last year.

McDonnell told reporters today that Sledd will be donating income from his corporate board work to charity and that he has also offered to take no salary from the state, an issue McDonnell said remains under discussion. The governor-elect dismissed concerns that it would be a conflict of interest for Sledd to head up business policy-making for the administration while also serving on the boards of major companies doing business in the state.

McDonnell said he could foresee no possible conflicts, but if one arose, Sledd would recuse himself from the issue.

"If there were any conflict from the boards he's going to stay on, then he would obviously not be able to participate in any decision making," McDonnell said. "But we've looked at those boards and we don't think there's going to be any conflict."

McDonnell called Sledd, the former chief executive officer for Performance Food Group and now works as managing partner of Pinnacle Ventures LLC, a "terrific leader" and "exactly the kind of person" needed to push job creation in the state. He said corporate board service, estimated to take 10 to 15 days a year, would ensure he kept up to date on problems facing business. Pressed by reporters, McDonnell said that if Sledd recuses himself from an issue due to his board service, the administration would make the arrangment public. "Sure, we'll do that, absolutely," he said.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  January 4, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: Mims's letter on health care


Can anyone say conflict of interest?

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Posted by: iofferkicks391 | January 4, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

jckdoors: It appears that McDonnell can't... at least not when it applies to his buddies.

And, BTW, "Bob Sledd"? I sure hope he's given some of his money in support of the US Winter Olympic Team! (LOL)

Posted by: nan_lynn | January 4, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

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