Gov. Butch Otter appears to be conceding that lawmakers won’t back his proposal for a new higher education CEO this year. In remarks to the Idaho Press Club this morning, Otter said, “The higher education task force’s recommendations of a chief education officer is probably not finding the soft landing that I hoped that it would. But the study is. And so I think probably what will happen is that we will get to do the study, and then the study, we hope, will show that the change agent that we need for our higher education system in Idaho will be something similar to what we have suggested.”
Otter has proposed both the new CEO, with an annual salary of $200,000, and $500,000 for a study to determine how various “back office” functions at Idaho’s public colleges and universities could be consolidated and bring savings and efficiencies to the state. Both recommendations were included in Otter’s budget proposal for next year, but lawmakers have balked at adding the CEO prior to doing the study.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is scheduled to start setting state agency budgets on Friday.