Wednesday, 22 June 2011 15:52

Jindal's Nominees Having Tough Time With Louisiana Legislature

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Louisiana PoliticsPaul Rainwater is in, Mark Brady is out.

That’s the word out of Baton Rouge after a series of confirmation hearings on the commissioner of administration and his deputy commissioner, respectively.

 The Senate and Governmental Affairs (S&GA) Committee has been holding confirmation hearings for several weeks for appointees by Gov. Bobby Jindal, including Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals Bruce Greenstein and Board of Regents for Higher Education member Ed Antie.

The hearings have not gone well for any of the four men. Sources indicate that senators apparently are peeved at the perceived arrogance of Rainwater and Brady and the lack of candor on the part of Greenstein and Antie.

There has been no word on the fates of Greenstein and Antie, but the word coming out of the legislature Tuesday was that Rainwater would be given a pass and confirmed as commissioner of administration while Brady, who was brought into the Jindal administration from New Hampshire by Jindal, will not.

Brady is perceived by many in the legislature and in DOA as a hatchet man brought in by Jindal for the specific purpose of ramming the governor’s privatization agenda through the legislature.

Jindal’s plans for selling three state prisons fell through under heavy opposition from legislators and prison employees. The sale of the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) has encountered similar opposition from retired state employees, retired teachers, legislators, and even state district judges but rumors circulating in Baton Rouge Tuesday said that Jindal will move forward with the sale of that agency as soon as the legislature leaves town after Thursday’s adjournment.

 Greenstein refused for more than an hour to reveal the name of the winner of a $300 million, multi-year contract for DHH before finally revealing that the winner was CNSI of Gaithersburg, MD., a company by whom he previously was employed.

Antie, of Carencro, and founder of Central Telephone, denied that he had any contracts with the state or specifically, the Board of Regents. It turns out, as was revealed in the hearings, that one of Central Telephone’s subsidiaries, Sun America, has a $531,000 contract with the Board of Regents for the lease of fiber optics for the Regents’ Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, a state-of-the-art fiber optics network that connects eight major research universities in the state.

No specific reason was given for the prediction that Brady would not be confirmed but he sat through several particularly grueling confirmation sessions with members of the S&GA Committee, mostly over the pending sale of OGB as well as DOA denials of access to a financial report done on that agency by Chaffe & Associates of New Orleans.

The committee elicited a promise from Rainwater to make a copy of the Chaffe report available to committee member Sen. Karen Peterson (D-New Orleans) but Brady later ordered OGB CEO Scott Kipper not to provide the report to anyone, including legislators.

That prompted Kipper, who had been on the job only six weeks, to tender his resignation. His last day on the job is Friday.

When a copy of the report was finally made available, it was done only after senators were required to sign a confidentiality agreement which was promptly broken when a senator leaked the report to the Baton Rouge Advocate.

It now turns out that the leaked report may not have been authentic.

Rainwater and DOA legal counsel each had said on different dates that the report was received by DOA on May 25 but Chaffe officials signed off on the legislators’ copy of the report on June 3. Moreover, that report, published by theAdvocate on its web blog, contained no date stamps, a requirement for all incoming documents at DOA, including all mail, brochures, and reports.

by Tom Aswell of

Which Nominees would you approve if you were in Legislature?


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