Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Panel: Put colleges under Regents board

Officials studying ways to cut costs in state government are recycling an old idea of paring the number of boards that oversee higher education.

An advisory group for the Commission on Streamlining Government recommended Monday that all public college systems be placed under the jurisdiction of the ouisiana Board of Regents.

State Treasurer John Kennedy said the state does not have too many universities but instead has too many higher education boards that perpetuate duplication of ervices.

Kennedy's suggestion for eliminating management boards was one of five prospects to be presented to the Commission on Streamlining Government to consider. If the overall group agrees, the proposals would be submitted to the Legislature.

Eliminating the management boards created in the 1974 constitution would not be easy. Roemer and former Gov. Mike Foster tried to pass constitutional amendments to do it and failed.

The panel also agreed with Kennedy's proposal to push state officials to find a way to ollect the outstanding $1.7 billion owed to the state in accounts receivable. Of that, $1.1 billion is more than 180 days overdue.

He also got approval of a plan calling for eliminating 5,000 state jobs a year for the next three years. Kennedy said it could be accomplished by not filling vacant positions and 20 percent of the savings could be put into "a pool" to compensate employees who have to take on others' jobs.

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