State Media Distorts Truth On Higher Ed Commish Pay

It’s another case of what wasn’t in the newspapers.

Saturday, we reported on the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget meeting that took dedicated money from the controversial V-Vehicle project at put it back into the general fund.

Not a peep about this was heard anywhere else.

The committee also disapproved the pay package of Interim Commissioner of Higher Education Tom Layzell. That was widely reported.

But what you didn’t read in the papers (save the Jim Beam piece in the Lake Charles American Press) or hear about on TV was what committee chairman Rep. Jim Fannin showed the rest of the committee. Namely, comparable salaries for higher education executive officers and the rate of growth in salary and perks for Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education.

According to the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), the average salary for executive officers is about $218 thousand and the median salary is about $185 thousand. Sally Clausen’s base pay was $377 thousand.

See the chart here.

Fannin also presented a chart showing the growth in salary an perks for the higher ed commissioner. As late as 1990, when Sammie Cosper took over the job, his base pay was $104 thousand. Today the pay and benefits has quadrupled.

See the chart here.

Here’s some of the bitching and moaning from the state’s “official” media – those ‘journalists’ who have offices in the basement of the building that houses the people they’re supposed to cover.

Legislative panel rejects $300,000 pay package for interim higher-education commissioner

The search for a new commissioner of higher education was thrown into turmoil today after a legislative committee rejected a proposed pay package for a retired educator who had been recruited to serve as interim commissioner until a permanent chief can be found.

Losing Layzell: One step back

Higher education in Louisiana took a major step backward Thursday when the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget refused to approve the compensation package for an interim commissioner of higher education and effectively rejected a talented and highly qualified national candidate.

CABL bemoans higher ed flap

Louisiana will face major problems hiring a new higher education commissioner after lawmakers rejected interim Commissioner Tom Layzell last week, the president of the Council for a Better Louisiana said Monday.

Regents on Tuesday to examine next steps toward finding La. higher ed commissioner

After being rejected by the Joint Budget Committee last week, the Board of Regents will meet Tuesday, Aug. 17, in emergency session to discuss what steps to take in finding a new commissioner of higher education.

Layzell’s pay may imperil position

The state’s new interim commissioner of higher education was rejected Thursday in a lopsided vote by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget after just days on the job.

Politics getting hot and low

If you want to see another example of politics gone bad, guide your computer to and click on House. Then click on Video on Demand Archives, then click August 2010 to access Joint Budget.

When the video starts running, click and slide the little blue bubble at the bottom on the picture over to 2:14. After two hours and 14 minutes, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget is primed for bear in the form of the Board of Regents, one of its favorite prey.

Council for a Better Louisiana

Barry Erwin, President of Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) has been all over the state since last week bellyaching about what the joint committee did regarding the higher ed commissioner’s pay.

Here’s some things you need to know about CABL.

CABL Chairman of the Board is Bob Levy, who is also Vice-Chairman of the Board of Regents.

CABL Secretary is Alice Pecoraro, formerly Vice President for Academic Affairs at Nicholls State University.

On the CABL Board of Directors is Ray Authement, former president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL).

This explains a lot of why Erwin said what he did.

Walter Abbott is the publisher of Lincoln Parish News Online, where this article originally appeared.



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