The Resource Agency history of the Virginia Governor's Office
- Agency history of the Virginia Governor's Office
- Biographical or historical data
- During the colonial period of Virginia's history the governor, as an appointee of the Crown, was the colony's principal representative and upholder of royal authority. Although his powers were limited somewhat by the Council and by the laws passed by the House of Burgesses, the governor still had the authority to prorogue, adjourn, or dissolve the legislature, to confirm or veto its acts, to preside as the chief jurist of the colony, to command the provincial military forces, and to appoint many of the subordinate officers of government.
- Most of these powers, excepting the military and appointive, were swept away by the American Revolution. The several revolutionary conventions assumed the executive role in 1774 and 1775 until the Committee of Safety was created in July 1775 to function in that capacity. The constitution adopted in 1776 made the governor subordinate to the legislative branch, elected by the General Assembly and circumscribed by a Council of State appointed by the assembly.
- It was not until the constitution of 1851 was adopted that the power of the governor was strengthened appreciably. The Council of State was abolished, and the governor was popularly elected. In subsequent years his authority was consolidated and expanded to statute, and his veto power was restored. The state government reorganization act passed by the General Assembly on April 18, 1927, firmly established the governor as the chief administrative officer of a government composed of departments, the directors of which serve at the pleasure of the governor. In addition, the organization of the governor's staff has increased in size and complexity until it has become virtually a department itself: the Office of the Governor, encompassing both the chief executive and his staff.
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