Beshear Asks Board To Reopen Search For Education Commissioner

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov.-elect Steve Beshear asked the state Board of Education on Friday to reopen its search for a new commissioner.

Beshear said he thinks the uncertain political climate surrounding the governor's race may have deterred qualified candidates from applying for the job.

Beshear, a Democrat, defeated Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher in Tuesday's general election.

Beshear told the board during a special meeting that he would like it to hire a search firm to seek out and possibly recruit candidates in addition to four people who have been named as finalists for the job.

Beshear said he recognizes the board, which was appointed by Fletcher, is responsible for hiring the commissioner and he does not intend to try to force its hand.

Board members said they would consider the request. A decision was unlikely to come Friday because three members were not present at the meeting, board Chairman Joe Brothers said.

Former commissioner Gene Wilhoit left last November for a job in Washington and the job has been vacant ever since.

The board hired a former Illinois educator, Barbara Erwin, for the job over the summer but she resigned in July shortly before she was supposed to start.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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