A Job No One Wants

You want to be the commissioner of higher education?

Melinda Deslatte reports in the Leesville Daily Leader that Louisiana is having a very hard time finding someone willing to serve as the state’s next commissioner of higher education.

The problem is that the job is sort of terrible. As Deslatte writes:

Wanted: Strong, well-educated and experienced leader who can guide at least $290 million in budget cuts, take repeated and angry criticism from state lawmakers and get paid less than the university chiefs you will oversee and coordinate.

Oh, and if you are selected, it’s unclear whether the salary you negotiate will be approved.

This is at the same time that Louisiana expects to lose almost $300 million in federal stimulus money. At the same time Louisiana public colleges will be held to much higher standards without any additional state money.

Being the Louisiana commissioner of higher education may in fact be one of the worst jobs on earth. The position is low-paid, the person has very little power but a lot of “responsibilities.” He has little ability to implement change as he sees fit, but is entirely responsible for carrying out the policy changes determined by the legislature. And when anything goes wrong in Louisiana colleges, guess who takes the blame?

The Regents haven’t decided yet how much they’re going to pay the new commissioner, another thing that may deter qualified candidates from applying for the job.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer