commissioner of higher education

Rhode Island's Board of Education has selected former Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell to lead the state's college system.

The board voted unanimously at its Monday meeting to appoint Purcell as the new commissioner of higher education. Details of his contract remain under negotiation, but Purcell is expected to earn between $135,000 and $175,000, which is considerably less than his $275,000 contract in Louisiana.

The Rhode Island Board of Education will address two recent controversies in a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

The board is planning to vote on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s pick for a new Interim Higher Education Commissioner. The candidate, Department of Education Chief of Staff Clark Greene, was named only after Education Board Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso stepped aside as a candidate herself, because of ethics questions.

Political Analyst Scott MacKay and Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison discuss leadership problems at the Rhode Island Office Higher Education, after Governor Lincoln Chafee announced he would rescind his pick for Higher Education Commissioner. The candidate, attorney Eva-Marie Mancuso, raised ethics questions because she chairs the State Board of Education, the same board that would have to vote on her nomination.

  Additional reporting for this story by Ian Donnis.

The State Board of Education put off a vote Monday night on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s recommendation of attorney Eva-Marie Mancuso for State Commissioner of Higher Education. The delay followed warnings from Common Cause Rhode Island that the appointment would constitute an ethics violation.