Louisiana Board of Regents members who are handling the search for a new state higher education commissioner will be in Kenner this week for “meetings with interested individuals” at the New Orleans Hilton Airport.
Twenty-five people have been under consideration for Louisiana’s top higher ed leadership post, but the state board has declined to release their names.
It remains unclear how many people are being brought in or who they are.
A board spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to The Advocate’s request for more information today, after sending out a notice of the meetings scheduled Wednesday and Thursday.
UPDATE: Here’s the board response with more details about this week’s meeting, from spokeswoman Katara Williams: “Some of those individuals have specifically requested a meeting with the members of the Board before they can confirm their interest in the position. Similarly, the Board deems such a preliminary face-to-face meeting necessary to determine its level of interest. Once these meetings take place, the Board will be in a better position to assess the mutual interest of each individual and the Board. At that point, the Board will be in a position to announce the names of those who are interested in the job and the Board has an interest in considering for the job. I assure you that the Board, at that time, will announce those names and I will provide their resumes, background information and qualifications of those individuals.”
An earlier timeline released by the board said semifinalists would be announced Aug. 28 and finalists would be selected this week.
At a meeting last month, the committee went into a closed-door meeting and didn’t openly discuss candidates under consideration.
Jim McCormick of Washington, D.C.-based AGB Search said at the time that candidates haven’t yet been vetted for interest and the list includes people who were nominated by others.
The search for a new commissioner formally launched in July, after state lawmakers, in the final days of the 2014 legislative session, handed Regents the authority to set the job’s salary — a task previously left to a legislative committee.
The state Senate must still confirm the finalist for the job, though that’s typically a formality.
Louisiana’s former higher education commissioner Jim Purcell quietly left the post in March, three years after taking the job that oversees Louisiana’s colleges and universities.
AGB Search will receive up to $75,000 for assisting with the search and related expenses.
Officials have said the new commissioner will be paid in the mid-$300,000 range. Purcell was paid $275,000. The commissioner doesn’t receive free housing, a car or other perks that university presidents and chancellors often receive.
Board members serving on the search committee include Chairman Clinton “Bubba” Rasberry, Albert Sam II, Mark Abraham, Charlotte Bollinger, Raymond Brandt, Joseph Farr, Chris Gorman and Robert Levy.