JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Matt Blunt replaced his controversial chief of staff, Ed Martin, Tuesday and dodged questions about whether he asked for Martin’s resignation.
Blunt announced Martin’s resignation and the appointment of Department of Revenue Director Trish Vincent as his new chief of staff.
“Ed and I obviously talked about the future of the office and who is the right person to lead the office in a specific set of circumstances, and right now that’s Trish Vincent,” Blunt said.
Blunt avoided answering questions about when and how Martin made his decision to resign and if it was forced.
“We’re not going to give a timeline of what happened, when, and that sort of thing,” Blunt said. “If you’re confused then that’s my intent, so, I think we’ve discussed it. We discussed his desire to move on.”
The resignation comes after controversy about how the governor’s office handles its e-mails, but Blunt said he — not his chief of staff — is responsible for his office.
“I’m the governor and I’m responsible for what happens in state government,” Blunt said.
Martin has served as chief of staff for 15 months and has been outspoken about several issues, most recently the e-mail controversy, the Missouri nonpartisan court plan and the firing of two state employees. But Blunt said Martin brought people together.
“I think, in many ways, he was able to bring diverse groups of people together to help us achieve important things, and fundamental change does rattle cages, I suppose,” he said. “But we’re going to continue to push forward with this kind of fundamental change and reform we’ve delivered over the past nearly three years.”
Martin’s resignation went into effect at noon Tuesday. However, Blunt said he will remain on staff until Jan. 4. Blunt said Martin wants to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with his family.
Vincent will begin her new duties immediately. She is the third chief of staff hired by the governor in three years.
Martin was not available for comment.
Prior to serving three years as director of the Department of Revenue, Vincent was deputy secretary of state while the governor was secretary of state.
“I believe she’s the right person to lead the office at this time and the right person to help me lead the state of Missouri,” Blunt said.