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ND officials eyeing appointment after higher ed board member resigns

State Board of Higher Education Chair Don Morton, left, board member Greg Stemen and North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott listen during a meeting of the SBHE in Bismarck Thursday, Nov. 30. Andrew Haffner / Forum News Service

BISMARCK — North Dakota state officials may appoint somebody to fill the remaining months of former State Board of Higher Education Vice Chairman Greg Stemen's term after he resigned last week.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler, who chairs a state committee that recommends board candidates, had already announced she was seeking applicants for two board positions when Stemen announced his resignation last week. One of those positions was Stemen's, but he was eligible for reappointment to a new four-year term starting July 1.

Baesler's spokesman, Dale Wetzel, outlined a "tentative plan" Monday, Oct. 1, in which the committee would give three lists of candidates to Gov. Doug Burgum: one to fill the rest of Stemen's term and two others for the full four-year terms already being advertised.

Applications for the two positions announced last month are due Nov. 21.

The governor nominates members of the State Board of Higher Education, which oversees the North Dakota University System. The nominees are confirmed by the state Senate.

"The committee needs to have a discussion on what to do. There needs to be some conversation with the governor's office on what to do," Wetzel said. "I think we're moving as quickly as possible right now to fill the opening that's created by Mr. Stemen's resignation."

Stemen said last week he resigned because of "added work responsibilities and increasing personal obligations." He lives in Oakes and is the vice president of the southeast region of First Community Credit Union.

Don Morton, the chairman of the higher education board, praised Stemen's work on the panel but isn't expecting major hiccups from his departure.

"We'll adjust," he said.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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