Katherine K. Hanley, the secretary of the commonwealth, wrote University of Virginia President John T. Casteen III on Thursday, asking that Michaels “avoid any conflict of interest or appearance thereof by scrupulously avoiding the use of the title of state climatologist in connection with any outside activities or private consulting endeavors.” …
Hanley’s letter also addressed the question of whether Michaels’ position as state climatologist is an appointment of the governor or of U.Va. Hanley does acknowledge that Michaels was originally appointed state climatologist by Gov. John Dalton in 1980.
However, she said the code of Virginia “does not provide for the governor to appoint a state climatologist.”
She also asserted that the university assumed authority for the state climatologist’s office and title in the 2000 certification application to the American Association of State Climatologists. …
The governor’s office said Michaels could refer to himself as the “AASC-designated state climatologist.”
The Roanoke Times says
UVa can fix things only by asking Michaels to choose one boss: Virginians or power companies.
Removing him from the state climatologist’s office would not undermine his academic independence. He could continue to research, teach, accept funding from polluters and peddle climate whangdoodles, just without the implication that he speaks for all Virginians that his title conveys. Likewise, the conflict would end if he stopped taking cash from industry, something that creates at least the appearance of a state scientist for hire.