Section 18B. (a) A public education nominating council is hereby established to advise the governor with respect to appointments to the board of education, the board of higher education, and all boards of trustees of community colleges, state universities, and the University of Massachusetts, other than the student and alumni trustees elected pursuant to section twenty-one of chapter fifteen A, and in the case of the university, pursuant to section one A of chapter seventy-five. Said council shall consist of not fewer than twelve nor more than fifteen members and shall act with the concurrence of at least a majority of its members.
(b) Members of the council shall be appointed to serve without compensation for terms coterminous with that of the governor. Members may be reimbursed for all expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties. Any succeeding appointments and vacancies on the council shall be filled by the governor. A member of the council shall be considered a “person employed by the commonwealth for compensation” for the purposes of section thirteen of chapter fifty-five.
(c) The governor shall from time to time select one member to serve as chair of the council. The council shall adopt and make public by-laws for the conduct of its affairs. All records and deliberations with respect to persons under consideration as nominees or prospective nominees shall be held in confidence by the council but shall be available to the governor and the governor’s representatives.
(d) Whenever a vacancy occurs or is expected to occur on the board of education, the board of higher education or on a board of trustees, the governor shall notify the council. The council shall submit to the governor a list of persons who, in the judgment of the council, are qualified and willing to serve as members or trustees. Said list shall include at least twice as many names as there are vacant positions. The governor may appoint any person whose name is forwarded to him by the council. If the governor declines to appoint a person from any such list, the council shall submit additional names for that vacancy.
(e) In considering candidates, the council shall seek persons of the highest quality who, by experience, temperament, ability and integrity will provide policy direction and oversight for the commonwealth’s educational system and its community colleges, state universities, and the University of Massachusetts. Candidates shall be evaluated according to law and without regard to race, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or political affiliation. There shall be persons from diverse cultural, racial, social, geographic and ethnic backgrounds on the council. No member of the council may be considered for appointment to any board while a member of the council.