CARBONDALE — SIU plans to fill a government liaison post it has kept dark for more than a year, President Glenn Poshard said Monday.
Poshard hopes to hire by March a new executive director for the university’s office of governmental and public affairs based in Springfield. The person acts as a point of contact between SIU, the state of Illinois and the media.
The post was formerly held by David Gross, who is now chief of staff for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton. Gross earned roughly $175,000 annually in the position. Poshard hopes to hire a new person for roughly $125,000.
“We’ve got to have a person up there to coordinate all the things we do in Springfield. It’s been open for over a year,” Poshard said.
While the salary for the position is high, Poshard said he and his staff have cut positions within his office, as well as axed the university’s Washington lobbyist in recent years to save on payroll.
Poshard has been maintaining contacts in both Springfield and Washington but says it is important, given the importance of upcoming legislation on matters like pension reform, to have a constant ear in the state capitol building. Poshard also said he would use the opportunity to focus more effort at the federal level.
“I’ve got to spend more time at the federal level, especially with these sequestration matters,” Poshard said.
SIU could lose as much as $9 million in student aid and research funding if Congress fails to pass a spending bill and across-the-board cuts take effect later this spring.