Could Mayor Thomas M. Menino reinvent himself as a cheesehead? Unbeknownst to the mayor, someone has floated his name as a candidate to be the next chancellor - the Big Cheese, if you will - at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
A thick packet arrived at City Hall a few weeks ago from the land of dairy cows and the Green Bay Packers, imploring Menino to give up City Hall for an academic idyll in the Midwest.
"On a lakefront campus that is considered one of the nation's most picturesque, this public, land-grant institution includes a complete spectrum of liberal arts studies, professional programs, and student activities," the packet said.
Menino says he is not going anywhere and doesn't know who nominated him. The job pays between $370,000 and $452,000 per year, significantly more than Menino's current $175,000 salary. As chancellor, the self-styled "urban mechanic" would find himself designing curricula, setting degree requirements, and determining academic standards.
The job would require some shifting loyalties: from the New England Patriots to the aforementioned Packers, the Red Sox to the Milwaukee Brewers, and from the Hub of the Universe to the home of the top-ranked Dane County Farmers' Market.
"Somebody must have been pretty impressed by his accomplishment as a leader," said Wisconsin search committee spokesman David Musolf, secretary of the faculty at the university. He declined to reveal the identity of the nominator but said Menino is among hundreds of nominees.
"We reach out very broadly," he said. "We do not discriminate."