August 31 2009, 10:07 AM
Former Congressman David Skaggs abruptly resigned his job heading the Department of Higher Education on Friday, spawning speculation over the real reason for his departure, effective September 11. In a letter to Governor Bill Ritter, Skaggs states: "I very much regret that we have encountered a matter about which, with mutual respect and on a principled basis, we could not agree and which causes me to offer my resignation." As Education News Colorado points out, the "matter" noted in the letter is subject to conjecture but just might have something to do with anticipated budget cuts to higher education or development of a "master plan" to study the direction of education in years to come. Skaggs himself has perpetuated questions by refusing to answer news reporters' inquiries; instead, he redirects them to the letter. The Denver Post writes that Skaggs' job was tough. The state's higher-education outlook is fraught with economic perils on the horizon, and university and college presidents have not always been supportive of Skaggs' ideas. Ritter said he accepted the resignation "with great regret" but did not offer a timetable for replacing Skaggs, reports the Denver Business Journal. As for Skaggs, Education News adds that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently "appointed [him] to chair the new Office of Congressional Ethics," a non-partisan entity that reviews allegations of misconduct against members and staff of the U.S. House for the House Committee on Official Conduct.