BOZEMAN -- The state Board of Regents voted unanimously to hire its former chairman, Clay Christian, as the new commissioner of higher education for Montana.
Christian, a Missoula businessman, will take over on March 1 with a two-year contract and an annual salary of $283,300.
Christian was the regents chairman until Dec. 22, when the board announced that he had resigned and been chosen to take over the commissioner's job from Sheila Stearns, who is retiring after nine years.
Some questioned the board's hiring of Christian because the regents abandoned a planned national search after learning he was interested. But the criticism was of the process, not the hiring of Christian.
The regents, meeting in Helena on Thursday, elected Anaconda teacher Angela McLean as the hew board chair.