For over seven months, Governor Jindal ignored the pleas of his own citizens looking for help at the Bayou Corne sinkhole, or now, better known now as Lake Jindal.
Finally. And only after dodging questions about his refusals to visit those unfortunate Louisiana citizens--forced out of their homes, whose grounds were sinking both literally and figuratively from beneath their feet--did the Governor show up.
Then, only after the local and national finally got mad and blasted him for being callous and only after they began to wonder what could possibly be the cause of this bizarre behavior, did he finally act.
And, when he did so, he obviously decided to make lemonade from lemons or political hay from gooey sludge.
In doing so, he showed us that he was mad.
He blamed Texas Brine and said, â€śitâ€™s time they stepped upâ€ť and be responsible while essentially announced that settlement checks might soon be in the mail.
Yep, â€śone call, thatâ€™s allâ€ť. After seven months of ignoring and only after being forced to man up and face his own responsibility, he blamed others.
What me worry?
Then, on Thursday, it happened once again.
For almost two years, members of the media and others have been complaining about a rather unhealthy Medicaid contract with the state. However, from the Jindal administration, we heard nothing.
So, only hours after and only after the Advocate broke a story reporting that contract was under federal investigation, did his Administration take action.
They got mad and blamed others.
How else can you describe his Commissioner of Administration breaking a contract with the very company receiving the multi-million dollar contractual award by his very own cabinet secretary, Bruce Greenstein?
â€śBreak that contract. Yea, blame those bad contractors. Donâ€™t respond to media requests. Put this mess under the table. It will go awayâ€ť
The same, old, same old mode of operendiâ€¦ignore and then blame. Grind those lemons.
Yet, curious minds want to know--why act now and not before? Why dump this contract now after legal and media scrutiny although two years ago when questions and eyebrows were raised, we never heard a peep or a complaint?
Surely, the administration read items like those below--way back when serious questions were asked by some very important people.
Now, there are other questions--why abruptly stop a major contract which your own administration previously endorsed despite high-profile criticism and yes, only hours after it was announced to be under federal investigation?
Complaints like these below were not hidden under a rock nor beneath a sinkhole:
Jan 20, 2011
â€‚â€‚Greenstein claims he kept himself out of the bid process, which involved three other firms bidding for the big contract. If that's true, why all the secrecy?
â€‚â€‚Maybe it's because Greenstein wasn't so far removed from the bid process after all. It turns out DHH changed the bid specifications after Greenstein arrived â€” and the change actually let CNSI in the door. There's more. Greenstein, who initially said he erected "a wall" between himself and the bid process, later admitted that he met with CNSI and other potential bidders to discuss his "vision" for the contract. And in a Jan. 7 email, Greenstein discussed minute details of the bid requirements â€” at a time when he since claimed he had nothing to do with the process. "There was no wall," Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, told Greenstein. "You were in fact aware and you were knowledgeable."
â€‚â€‚Greenstein says the changes were not made at his request and they benefited other companies as well as CNSI, but that's beside the point. Deals such as the one CNSI stands to get from the Jindal administration would have been brought to light sooner, at least partially, if Louisiana had a law similar to Senate Bill 57 by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton. Unfortunately, despite all his jawboning about "reform" and "transparency," Jindal moves heaven and earth every year to kill any "sunshine" bills that apply to his office. Just last week, his forces kneecapped SB57 on the Senate floor by a vote of 14-22, ensuring that Jindal's will remain one of the least transparent governor's offices in the country.
Aug. 24, 2011
Take, for example, the $340 million, 10-year contract awarded by the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to Maryland-based CNSI Corp. Itâ€™s difficult to imagine that anything could be botched any worse than the manner in which the contract winner was announced.
The awarding of the contract just happened to coincide with the confirmation hearings on DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein. Smelling blood in the water, members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee asked Greenstein point-blank to name the company awarded the contract.
And with good reason, it turned out. It turned out that Greenstein had once worked for CNSI. But, he assured the committee members after finally identifying the CNSI as the winning bidder for the contract to process Medicaid claims for the state he had taken himself out of the selection process and even erected a â€śfirewallâ€ť between him and the contract selection.
But wait. Thereâ€™s more. Turns out that Greenstein did indeed have some contact with his old employer and in fact, implemented changes in the request for bids that allowed CNSI to submit a proposal. That proposal actually ranked third among four bidders on the technical merits of its proposal but won the contract based on the lowest price which is still one of the largest contracts ever awarded by the state.
Governor Jindal is correct. It is time for Texas Brine to take responsibility. But, itâ€™s also time for him to take responsibility for his own actions or his own failures to act.
Blaming others outside of his administration wonâ€™t cut it.
It wonâ€™t fill up Lake Jindal. And it wonâ€™t fill up what could be a new political sinkhole, CNSIgate.
Itâ€™s time for questions to be answered publically in front of media cameras or perhaps in response to federal questioners.
Itâ€™s time to be governor and not just be mad when it is politically expedient.
Votes Votes Votes Votes Votes
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