Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:28
Retiring Jindal Chief Deputy Nichols Facebook Post
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louisiana capitolGov. Bobby Jindal’s Deputy Chief of Staff Kristy Nichols was briefly the victim of an internet hoax that had a handful of state employees up in arms before a bogus Facebook page was taken down.

The apparent identity theft came on the heels of the Senate Retirement Committee’s hasty unanimous approval of SB 51 which increases employee contributions, changes the way in which retirement benefits are calculated and forces most employees to work longer before qualifying for retirement.

 

The amended version of the bill did not appear before the committee until shortly before noon on Monday and opponents had no time to review its contents before it was rushed through committee.

At one point, while attempting to respond to a question by Sen. Barrow Peacock about the breakdown of benefits, Nichols became agitated when some in the audience snickered. “This isn’t double talk,” she snapped. “This is designed to be straight talk.”
On Tuesday, a Facebook page called LA Pension 2012 appeared.

In one exchange, a writer, presumably a state employee wrote: “Morals, fairness. You’re kidding, right? These people (the administration) are bankrupt when it comes to both.”

Twenty-two minutes later a response purporting to be from Nichols appeared. “I notice many of you have expressed your opposition to the Governor’s retirement changes,” it said. “I can assure you that this retirement is a lot better than being unemployed.

“Remember, we are watching you.”

Another person said he had posted on the page “and got a pretty rude response from the governor’s assistant Kristy Nichols. I was not explicitly called out, but it was immediately after my post hit,” he said.

His post said in part:

“The state government is here to provide service. They (administration officials) are attacking the state workers as the problem, so they want to get rid of us and replace with more expensive private workers. If the public understood that the private counterparts are more expensive, then public support would shift.”

The wording of the response to his post varied slightly from the first:

“I notice a lot of you disagree with the Governor’s reform, but rest assured it will be a lot better than being unemployed. We are watching you.”

The second posting unleashed a quick barrage of outrage before the post was removed.

One reader, believing he was writing to Nichols said, “I hope you are not implying that those people who are state workers who openly disagree about the proposed pension reform will be fired from their jobs.”

Another asked, “Have you ever held a job that wasn’t political?”

Nichols did not respond to an email inquiry but Kyle Plotkin, Jindal’s communications director, was quick to say that the facebook page was bogus.

“I want to be very clear. A fake facebook page was created in Kristy’s name,” he said. “It is not her. Someone is misrepresenting her.”

Plotkin said the comment not only did not come from Nichols, but she was unaware that anyone had created a fake Facebook profile until people who had read the comments began calling the governor’s office.

“It’s very disturbing that someone would steal Kristy’s only identity,” he said. “It’s unfortunate…that someone would stoop this low.”

He said the governor’s office contacted Facebook which immediately deleted the fake profile.

by Tom Aswell, Publisher of Louisiana Voice

 

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