Bill would remove legislative OK for commissioner

Efforts to get state lawmakers out of decision-making over the salary for Louisiana’s higher education commissioner are advancing in the Legislature.

The Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee voted Tuesday for a proposal that would repeal the law requiring approval of the commissioner’s pay by the Legislature’s joint budget committee.

Metairie Sen. Conrad Appel, a Republican, told senators the requirement is an obstruction to recruiting people for the job, which is vacant.

Lawmakers passed the approval requirement in 2010, after Sally Clausen resigned amid sharp criticism for quietly retiring from her job and then being rehired without ever telling her governing board.

The committee refused to back Appel’s request to remove Senate confirmation for the commissioner. Senators stripped that from the bill, before moving it to the full Senate for debate.