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Lansing – Michigan State University Board of Trustees Chairman Brian Breslin is taking a leave of absence from his job as manager of appointments for Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

As allowed under Michigan Civil Service rules, Snyder’s office said Breslin will take an unpaid leave of between 30 to 90 days as he and other MSU trustees grapple with continued fallout from the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

“He wants to devote his attention to being on the Board of Trustees, given all the activities” Snyder told The Detroit News during a brief Tuesday interview at the state Capitol. “So I appreciated his focus on Michigan State.”

Breslin’s leave comes as the Snyder administration considers potential intervention at MSU, where the eight trustees have come under fire and face a looming no-confidence vote by the faculty senate.

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The board last week appointed GOP former Gov. John Engler to serve as interim president while trustees conduct a national search for a long-term replacement for former President Lou Anna Simon, who announced her resignation Jan. 24.

The Snyder administration is reviewing options for action at MSU, “and we continue to work on that,” the governor said before walking into an unrelated Capitol meeting.

Spokeswoman Anna Heaton said Snyder was not concerned that Breslin’s job in the executive office could pose an actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Breslin asked for the leave to “focus full-time on his duties” at MSU, “and the governor accepted,” Heaton said.

Breslin could not be reached Tuesday and did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

The MIRS subscription news service quoted Breslin Monday saying his “two roles never overlapped” but that his “first priority is to fulfill my statewide elected responsibilities as a MSU trustee.”

Breslin announced last month he will not seek re-election to the board. His term runs through the end of 2018.

joosting@detroitnews.com

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