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A committee looking for a new State University System chancellor wants to expand its search beyond academia to business and other fields, but salary limitations may complicate that effort.

The panel, meeting for the first time Monday, also voted to finish its work by July 1, 2009.

"The new chancellor will have to have large doses of skills that have not had the same priority in the past," said Sheila McDevitt, who chairs the Board of Governors, which oversees Florida's 11 public universities.

Besides the usual attributes of leadership and management skill, she cited "political acumen and sensitivity" and detailed knowledge of funding.

The board has had a stormy relationship with the Legislature and so has outgoing chancellor Mark Rosenberg, who's leaving in February.

That includes the board's lawsuit against the Legislature over which body has authority to set tuition. The Senate responded this year by proposing a constitutional amendment that severely limited the board's powers, but it failed in the House.

The universities also are facing financial challenges because of lower tuition rates and budget cuts.

No decision has yet been made on a salary range for the next chancellor.

"When we have university presidents that are approximately at $1 million a year, what we pay our chancellor is going to certainly have a lot to do with who we are able to attract," said board member Charles Edwards.

The board in the past has applied the same public salary limits to chancellors as set by state law for university presidents. It's now $231,750.

The universities, though, have supplemented presidents' state pay with private money through donations raised by their foundations.

McDevitt plans to ask a university president to fill in once Rosenberg leaves. She said she already has made her choice, which is subject to approval by the full board in November.

McDevitt said she may announce who it is as early as today.