CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Bob Kiss is returning to state government. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has appointed Kiss to be Secretary of the state Department of Revenue.

“I’ve often wondered whether what we’ve accomplished in the last generation is short term or whether it really changed the direction the state is going and how its policymakers think about fiscal responsibilities,” Kiss said.

“The opportunity to be a part of that and an opportunity to work with Gov. Tomblin is certainly something that attracted me back.”

Kiss, who served in the House of Delegates representing Raleigh County from 1989 to 2006 and spent 1997-2006 as House Speaker, will take over the cabinet secretary’s position July 1.

He admitted it will be a change. “Before, I was a presiding officer. Now, obviously, I answer to the governor and the governor is the one who sets and makes policy, not the secretary of revenue,” Kiss said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Bob during our tenure in the Legislature together and know he will, once again, serve the people of West Virginia well in this new capacity,” Tomblin said in a prepared statement.

“With his extensive knowledge of tax law, experience as finance chair and then Speaker of the House of Delegates, Bob truly understands the intricate finances of state government and the importance of maintaining our State’s good fiscal standing for the people of West Virginia.”

Kiss has worked at a Charleston law firm since leaving the House. He becomes the second former House speaker to be appointed by Tomblin to a cabinet level position in recent weeks.

Current Speaker Rick Thompson will take over as secretary of Veterans Assistance later this year.

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  • The truth

    Typical Tomblin, putting all his cronies on the payroll. Lets not hire qualified people lets go with the political hacks.

  • Fanny

    He is taking the appointed position to boost his state retirement, just like Thompson and a slew of other former legislators. It is the least we can do for them for their dedicated service to the state, especially if they can't win a judicial election.

    • Wowbagger

      They are maxing out their state retirement draining the contributions of long term, but lower paid state employees who have in aggregate contributed a lot more to the system, but will ultimately receive lower retirements. As I recall the equation involves length of service, but is heavily weighted by the highest three of the last ten years so a few years of five figure incomes increase their years of low contributions while in the legislature substantially. These people are the party faithful being rewarded for supporting the party and nothing else. If this continues long enough it could drain the system enough to reduce payouts for the rank and file state employees.

    • wirerowe

      There are is nor reason that legislators if they are qualified should be barred from state government service after their legislative service is over. But public employee and members of the legislature should have separate non transferrable pension systems. This would remove the incentive for self benefit over public service which is the case now. If they want to get appointed to be judges have at it.

      • wirerowe

        "there is no reason" sorry

  • FungoJoe

    Secretary of the Dept. of Revenue??? You have to be kidding me?? What does this liberal progressive political hack know about raising revenue other than by raising taxes??
    Kiss knows all too well how to spend revenue, though, but that is not in this job description. Tomblin sure is hiring alot of former political hacks from the Legislature for his administration. A lot more of the state demoncratic same ole, same ole.

    • Larry

      I agree, wasn't this guy involved in some sort of scandal when he left the government teat the first time?

      • JimJim

        Scandal, scandal, isn't all WV government a scandal?

        • Larry

          Yes, it is.