Clark in Running for IHL Job

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Secretary of State Eric Clark is on the list of candidates to be interviewed for Mississippi's higher education commissioner post. The 12-member board will interview several candidates next week.

The board is looking for a successor to outgoing Commissioner Richard Crofts. The position implements board policies and lobbies the Legislature. Also, presidents of the eight universities now report to the commissioner, based on a new change giving the post more authority.

Board members and lawmakers say Georgia's higher education chief, Tom Meredith, a former Western Kentucky University president and former University of Mississippi administrator, has also expressed interest in the post. It pays $260,000 a year.

Clark, a Democrat, spent 16 years in the Legislature. A former college professor with a doctorate from Mississippi State University, he was first elected secretary of state in 1995.

If Clark switches jobs, Gov. Haley Barbour would appoint an interim secretary of state to fill his unexpired term through January 2008.