(a) The Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Services of the State Department of Education shall serve as the initial commissioner of the Department of Rehabilitation Services commencing on January 1, 1995, and shall be provided a contract of employment for a period not to exceed one year.
(b) The board may thereafter appoint a commissioner to serve at its pleasure who shall be the chief executive officer of the department, on a contract basis not exceeding a four-year period.
(c) The board may establish the salary and expense allowance to be paid to the commissioner. The salary and expense allowance shall be paid in installments from the annual appropriation made to the board or the department.
(d) The commissioner shall serve as secretary to the board and shall have the responsibility for the operation, management, control, supervision, maintenance, regulation, and improvement of the department in conformity with policies adopted by the board.
(e) The salary, compensation, procedures, and personnel policies governing employees of the department shall be subject to the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Personnel Department and merit system as created under Sections 36-26-100 to 36-26-108, inclusive.