The Curry Coastal Pilot

Rudy Crew had his work cut out for him the moment he took the job as Oregon's new education czar, the man who will combine programs from early childhood through Ph.D. in what the governor hopes is a single cohesive structure. One wonders whether his considerable outside interests will allow him to give the task his best.

According to a recent column in The Oregonian newspaper, Crew has plenty on his plate even without the Oregon job.

He will continue as an adviser to a California company that offers test-prep services. Until he was hired here, he was president of the for-profit company.

He will also advise another California for-profit company that offers grading and other services and will be paid in shares for his advice.

He also hopes to take on a job teaching in one of this state's colleges. He currently teaches at the University of Southern California and has done stints at Stanford and Harvard.

Add that to a complete overhaul of this state's education system andndash; a job that pays $280,000 per year andndash; and Crew has enough work on his plate for several men. Worse, at least two of his endeavors, with the two California outfits, offer more than enough opportunity for at least the appearance of a conflict of interest. It will take timely, complete and ongoing disclosure to avoid that appearance.

A cynic might say Crew has his hand in so many pies because his employment record is less than stellar - he's had difficulty holding major positions for more than a few years, and he's been fired by both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Miami-Dade, Fla., school board - and the outside work provides a needed cushion should things in Oregon go wrong.

Even a non-cynic must ask whether Crew has too much to do. Oregonians have every right to expect that the person charged with the changes Crew was hired to make give that task his full attention. With so many other demands on his time, that seems unlikely.

- Wescom News Service (The Bend Bulletin)