Regents’ credibility on the line
Two bills are making their way through the current legislative session that give more power and authority to the Louisiana Board of Regents, the coordinating agency for all higher education in the state. Most observers believe that is a step that is long overdue.
Unfortunately, the news about both measures comes at a particularly awkward time for members of the board. They recently had to confront the fact that Sally Clausen, their commissioner of higher education, had retired and been rehired, reportedly without their knowledge.
I say reportedly because there is always the possibility one or more of the regents may have known about both actions but haven’t had the courage to come forward and say so.
The board went behind closed doors for three hours last week to try and repair the damage. When members emerged, the board’s policy was changed to say it has to be notified any time a staff member retires and the board has to sign off before a retiree can be rehired.
Regents weren’t interested in going into detail about what happened behind closed doors. They said they would delve deeper into this issue after the legislative session ends June 21.
Finally, he says,
Don’t get distracted
Yes, there is a lot on the higher education plate. But nothing should detract from the need to do something about this retire-rehire problem. It needs to be addressed by the Legislature before it becomes more abused by state and local agencies.
The law was originally aimed at rehiring teachers in critical areas like math and science. However, it has become a free ticket to pad already-outrageous salaries of some high-ranking public servants.
If the commissioner of higher education can retire and be rehired by subordinates, has a similar situation occurred in other state agencies? Could it still happen?
From Louisiana News Link, we have two pieces.