Deeply criticized for her furtive one-day retirement last August, which resulted in a $90,000 lump sum payment for unused vacation and sick leave, Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen is stepping down. It was a wise decision.
As she noted in her resignation letter, dated June 8, Clausen’s retire-rehire debacle has been “a constant distraction to the important work of higher education and to the Board of Regents.” Her resignation is a sad ending to a career in education that has spanned more than three decades, including stints as president of the UL System, president of Southeastern Louisiana University and secretary of education for the state.
“There are still important issues in this session that need attention, not the least of which is final passage of Senator [Ben] Nevers’ bill to strengthen the Regents, the GRAD Act, Performance Based Funding and higher education’s budget,” Clausen continues. “My hope is that in some small way, this decision will bring a sharper focus to these important issues.”
For reasons still not clear, Clausen kept the decision to take advantage of the state’s often-abused retire-rehire program, designed to retain quality teachers, from the 16-member Board of Regents. The governing board had hired her a year earlier for the $425,000 job, $377,000 annual salary plus a $12,000 car allowance and $36,000 for housing. At that time, she became the state’s sixth commissioner of higher education.
Clausen made headlines and drew praise in April when she requested that her salary be cut in half, from $377,000 to $199,000 — what she called a show of solidarity with her employees in a time of deep budget cuts. She also said she would forego the housing and car allowances. Still keeping the retirement under wraps, she told The Times-Picayune at the time that she was unsure whether she would continue beyond the legislative session, citing family obligations that had made her contemplate retirement.
Contemplate? She’d already done it.
Clausen is helping her divorced daughter in Houston care for a 4-year-old, special-needs child who has been diagnosed with a rare illness, the T-P reported. How easy it would have been, even then, to just come clean about the retirement.
Apparently, a handful of people did know about the retirement, but Clausen should never have kept the board in the dark; board members publicly expressed their disappointment. Let’s hope today’s retirement announcement is directly connected to the board’s May 26 executive session, out of which emerged new personnel policies but no comment on Clausen. Her resignation is effective July 1.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
Security breach at White House; Bejing won't back down from protesters; pressure on third-graders and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.
Prospective Republican presidential candidates are expected to promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad at a gathering of religious conservatives Friday, with anti-Obama speeches from the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The American Zombie blog by New Orleans independent journalist Jason Berry has a photograph of U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier having dinner with Lafayette attorney Pat Juneau — yeah, that Pat Juneau, the BP claims administrator whose fate Barbier will soon decide.
But retirees and employees who face the higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs responded angrily, telling lawmakers that they shouldn't be held responsible for what they consider the Jindal administration's mismanagement of the Office of Group Benefits.
Indictment accuses ‘chef’ who claims to work for the needy of stealing from a disabled man in his care.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's top budget adviser says the state employee health insurance program will face a dire financial scenario without the heavily criticized changes planned by the administration.
Louisiana's last execution was in 2010, and plans for the next lethal injection have been put on hold amid an ongoing legal dispute about the drugs that would be used. More than 80 people are on death row, awaiting execution, in Louisiana.
If the Saints' defense hasn't corrected early season errors it could be in for a long Sunday night.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is traveling to the Citgo refinery near Lake Charles to highlight her successful stalling of a bill to impose sanctions against human-rights abusers in Venezuela's government.