Common Cause Rhode Island is urging Gov. Lincoln Chafee to withdraw his nominee for interim higher education commissioner. The governor has tapped the chair of the Board of Education for a job overseen by the board she leads.
In a letter to Gov. Chafee, Common Cause Rhode Island said putting Eva-Marie Mancuso into the $200,000 interim higher education commissioner slot violates the state’s ethics code. Specifically the so-called “revolving door” ban that puts a one-year block on an elected or appointed official from taking a paid position that requires approval from the body they belong to.
Since Mancuso chairs the board that must approve her appointment, Common Cause Executive Director John Marion said the violation is a no-brainer. “If it’s plain to us, we think the people who are responsible for vetting these things, it should be glaring to them,” said Marion.
The governor calls Mancuso’s appointment a common sense move forward, and is seeking a waiver from the state’s ethics commission.
“I like continuity and Eva Mancuso has been leading our efforts since January and I want to continue that. I don’t want to be zig-zagging and we have the experience of going out for bid in the past,” said Chafee, "or having a search for a commissioner in the past with high costs and lack of success so I think this is a common sense move forward.”
Chafee appointed Mancuso on Friday, and the Board of Education is slated to vote on it Monday night.
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