Gov. Bill Ritter Thursday shuffled a current cabinet member into the vacant director’s job at the Department of Higher Education.

Rico Munn, director of the Department of Higher Education
Rico Munn, director of the Department of Higher Education

Rico Munn, director of the Department of Regulatory Agencies since 2007, will move to DHE Nov. 2. A lawyer, Munn represented the 1st Congressional District on the State Board of Education from 2002 to 2007.

The higher ed job has been vacant since David Skaggs, one of Ritter’s first cabinet appointments, resigned in late August. Although the details have remained murky, Skaggs resigned in a disagreement with the governor, apparently over the shape of a proposed strategic planning process for the state’s higher education system.

That process, including a kickoff higher ed “summit” originally scheduled for Sept. 21, has been on hold since Skaggs’ departure, so Munn’s appointment presumably clears the way for that process to restart.

In a statement, Ritter said, Munn “has a passion for education and the strong management skills necessary to help us build the best higher education system in the country. This is a critical time for higher education, as we embark on a long-term master planning process. This process will include a comprehensive discussion about how best to establish a sustainable funding model that will keep college affordable and accessible for all Coloradans.”

Munn said, “The governor is committed to ensuring the long-term success and stability of our system of higher education. I share that commitment.”