State Journal: Looking for work; Trouble on board

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If he could just learn to be lazy, Lloyd W. Lehman might love his life.

After all, he is collecting a $76,000 administrator's salary to provide no services, balance no operating budget, and oversee no more than a skeletal staff.

But Mr. Lehman wants more than the title and salary that go with being the regional school superintendent for the Cook County, Ill., suburbs of Chicago. He aspires someday to certify teachers, train bus drivers, and work in a real office, not just borrowed space at a high school.

Mr. Lehman is caught in a battle between the Illinois legislature and the Cook County board of commissioners, both of which have a history of using his office as a political football.

The state pays the salaries of Mr. Lehman and his deputy and two assistant superintendents. It expects the Cook County board to finance his operating budget, which, Mr. Lehman estimates, should be about $1.5 million annually, enough for expenses and to pay a staff of about 24.

But the county board says the state should pay such expenses and hasn't coughed up a dime.

Each side blames the other for the predicament. Meanwhile, Mr. Lehman has little to do.

Aldo A. DeAngelis, a Republican state senator, predicts things will heat up. The lack of regional services will soon cause the public to become outraged, he said.

New Mexico Gov. Gary E. Johnson is running into trouble with some of his nominees for the state school board.

By law, Gov. Johnson, a Republican, is entitled to appoint five of the panel's 15 members, but only three appointees can be of the same political party. The state Senate must then confirm the nominees.

Earlier this year, the governor ruffled some feathers when he ousted M.G. Martinez Jr.--a holdover from Mr. Johnson's Democratic predecessor, Bruce King--before his term expired.

The governor has since filled his quota of GOP appointees.

Last month, he nominated Independent Elizabeth E. Ortega. But some lawmakers have questioned her nomination because she changed from Republican to Independent to be considered for the post. She said last week that she had spent most of her life as a Democrat but became disillusioned and switched to the GOP last year.

Ms. Ortega and the governor's third GOP appointee are awaiting confirmation.

--Peter Schmidt & Lynn Schnaiberg

Vol. 15, Issue 02

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