Education commissioner may become appointed position

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(Host) A proposal in the Vermont Legislature could give the governor the authority to appoint the commissioner of education. But backers of that bill say it’s very unlikely that it will pass in time to have an impact on the search for a new commissioner in Vermont. Late last month, Commissioner Ray McNulty announced his resignation to take a position with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.

Currently the state board of education selects the commissioner and the governor can reject the board’s recommendation. The new bill, which is strongly supported by Governor Jim Douglas, would make the commissioner a gubernatorial appointee just like most other departments of state government.

The House Government Operations Committee is taking testimony on the bill this week. Committee Chairman Cola Hudson (R-Lyndon) says it’s very unlikely that the bill can work itself through the legislative process in time to be used for the current vacancy:

(Hudson) “That hasn’t been on my platter. If it works for the governor, that’s to his advantage. But I’m not setting my timetable to his needs.”

(Host) Hudson says the legislation will have to be reviewed by several other committees before it can be taken to the floor of the House for a vote.

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