The Lieutenant Governor position.....

The Lieutenant Governor of the state of California, John Garamendi, makes $163,974, with most of his expenses paid for on top of that.

Not to mention, he takes a pension from all the other offices he has held over the years. Like many politicians in a state with term limits, Mr Garamendi has jumped from one elected office to another like a pinball. And now, he is running for Congress.

But thats not my query.

What is the point of Lieutenant Governor? The position has two constitutional responsibilities; to fill in for the governor when the seat is vacated and to break tie votes in the state Senate. Thats it. Hardly worthy of $163,974.

Can anyone defend this position and why hasn’t anyone said anything?

I suggest the state Attorney General (third in line) assumes the responsibilities of the Lieutenant Governor by breaking the tie votes and filling in the vacated governor seat.

One ex Lt. Gov of Michigan says the job is to call the Gov. in the morning. If he answers, go back to bed.

New York, actually. That was Governor Patterson’s joke about his day as Lieutenant Governor.

IIRC, The Lt Gov of California fills in while the Governor is out of the state. So at least in California, he is acting Governor considerably more than other state’s second-in-command.

Arizona has no Lieutenant Governor. Jan Brewer was Secretary of State and became governor when Napolitano resigned. Interestingly, the Governor of Arizona does tend to resign fairly frequently. I have no idea who breaks ties in the Senate. However, Republicans are so dominant that I doubt it comes up often.

Michigan a long time ago.

Which can be problematic since the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of California are elected seperately instead of on the same ticket like most states (also POTUS & VPOTUS). This often leads to the Gov and Lt Gov being of different parties.

Indeed. Famously, record executive and Republican Mike Curb was Lt. governor during Jerry Brown’s governorship, and vetoed legislation and issued executive orders while Brown was out of state. Litigation confirmed Curb’s authority to do this.

I remember one year our Libertarian candidate for the position of Lt. Governor ran on the platform of ending the position of Lt. Governor.

Why do we have a Vice President? And he makes $227,300.

West Virginia doesn’t have a Lt. Gov either. The President of the Senate takes over if something happens to the Gov. and a tie vote in the Senate simply means that the motion doesn’t carry.


The Governator has slashed the budget of the Lieutenant Governor by two thirds in the latest California budget and Garamendi won his seat in the U.S. Congress.

Now the debate is about Schwarzeneggar’s appointment to the “important” vacant seat and its subsequent approval by the Democratic controlled Senate and Assembly houses.

Truthfully, I don’t think he is in any hurry to fill the worthless position.

If he fills it with an able bodied Republican, that candidate needs to get approved, then upon possible reelection in two years, the candidate will absolutely lose because in California those of the general populace that do vote - predominately vote blindly upon party lines only, not educating themselves whether their parties candidate is worthy or not, and California is a lopsided Democrat heavy state. Not to mention, he loses that powerful Republican politician from the statehouse where he will most likely draw from.

If he fills the position with a Democrat, that candidate will win legislative approval, and the position just becomes a springboard for a possible Democrat opponent in the next governor election. And Arnold ticks off his own party even further.

its a no win situation for him. I say he proposes a constitutional amendment, with great vigor, getting rid of the Lieutenant Governor office all together, using the system from the great state of West Virginia, thanks poster, thereby regaining the trust of the people of California as well as his own party, and ticking off the Democrats who have misused this office for years.

I do want to point out that I am NOT a Democrat, nor am I am Republican.!!! I adamantly stand against BOTH parties equally, and distrust the majority of the politicians. I have worked in the political field many, many years and with much personal experience, I do have an educated point of view. I have come to trust many individual politicians of both parties for their virtues, work ethics, and principles, and have seen many great, intelligent, hard working leaders get voted out because of the political party that is attached to their name, or even worse, they have their district lines redefined by a rival to have the people of an opposing party vote them out. This happens to qualified Dems in Orange County and Republicans in San Francisco. This is a shame. Greed and corruption is a brutal game. I can be bitter, but I am a hopeful patriot. And I know the majority of the people in the United States share in my distrust, but it angers me that they only know the half of it.

I encourage any debate.

The one decent argument I’ve heard against a WV style no Lt. Gov position is the fact that a Governor’s replacement would not be one elected by the people.

The President of the Senate is a senator elected by one single district, and then elected by the rest of the senators to be President. He only represents a single senatorial district and not the state as a whole. I guess you could say that the Senate acts as a voice for the rest of the state in selecting him, but a direction election of a Lt. Gov. would better express the will of the people.

But, then again, nobody cares who is on the ticket. As much as I care about politics, I would have to look up the Lt. Gov. of my state. So it doesn’t matter anyways. I say save the state the salary and office expenses.

It can also lead to a sudden, mid-term, change in which party controls the executive without an election. Granted this isn’t as big a problem on the state level as it would be on the federal level since most states have a split executive branch with multiple offices directly elected (SecState, AG, Treasurer, etc).

New Jersey just elected it’s first Lieutenant Governor, until recently the Senate President would take over as Acting Governor while keeping his positon in the Senate. He got to simultaneously head the executive branch and half the legislative branch. An in NJ the (Acting) Governor has more or less complete control over the executive just like POTUS. No other office is elected statewide.

PR doesn’t have the LtGov position either, it’s filled by the Secretary of State, including being acting guv while the boss is out of town. For the sake of the special constitutional requirements for the post, our Sec’y of State has to be confirmed by true majorities of BOTH houses of the Commonwealth Legislature, thus giving the post a bit more people’s-will cred than a regular cabinet member.

There have been floated around here proposals to create a LtGov but as seen in this thread they have foundered on the issue of whatever would he actually DO for a living.

After the SoS we then begin going thru the cabinet in the order of precedence (State, Justice, Treasury, Education, Public Works…). Interestingly, around here the SoS may ascend permanently to the governor’s post if he’s holding a “recess appointment” – i.e. he’s appointed but the Legislature has not had the chance to confirm; but all those others next in line, if we lose both the Guv and SoS, need to be in full confirmed holding of his/her post. (For the temporary Acting Governor In Absence gig, OTOH, we just let whoever’s next in line take charge.)

What purpose does the Executive officer on a navy ship have? What point is there to a vice president of a company?

LT governors are the second in command of their state, which is not a worthless position. They may not be making all the top decisions, but authority and responsibility are still delegated to them.

Also, just because his vote is a tie breaker doesn’t make it any less important… The outcome of any vote in congress would be precisely the same if the position had a normal vote… If it were 51 to 49, and he got a vote, the outcome wouldn’t change either way.

Guess I’m just a filthy elitist, but I really don’t see $163 K as being all that much for a high-ranking executive employed by the government that possessed the 9th biggest GDP in the world as late as 2006. An elected official’s constitutional responsibilities are but a fraction of their actual duties, anyway. If you want to be angry at someone for not knowing the half of it, look in the mirror.

But usually a senator or two is absent. So if you had 50 yea and 49 nay, and the VP had a vote anyways, his no vote would make it a 50 to 50 tie and kill the measure.

Regardless of how much the state GDP is or where California would place in a lineup of world economies, $163,000 is a lot of money for an elected position that I have first hand knowledge has no duties other than those laid upon them by the states constitution. Day by day the Lieutenant Governor and his/her staffers just get up and “go to the office”, as quoted by multiple staffers, one whom is a dear friend of mine. Plus, $163,000 is just the salary!!! This doesn’t include his budget and having all his personal expenses paid for in full.

Considering the economic mess the state is in, all expenses should be closely analyzed, this is why his budget was cut by two thirds.

To quote Arnold, and I thought I never would, “The State of California does not have an income problem, we have a spending problem!”