Legislators criticize LSU board

State Senators told members of the LSU Board of Supervisors that they want an explanation for why the university system’s former hospitals chief, Fred Cerise, was directed not to attend a legislative hearing to discuss plans to privatize the LSU hospitals.

State Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, said he asked Cerise, who is still an employee of LSU, to come to a recent budget hearing. He said he was told that Cerise was denied his request to take a personal leave day to attend the meeting.

“That’s really disturbing,” Murray said Wednesday, during LSU board members’ confirmation hearings before the state Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I think that sends a really bad message.”

Cerise was pushed out of his hospital leadership job after clashing with Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is seeking to privatize the hospitals.

LSU board members John George and Ann Duplessis said they didn’t know anything about Cerise not being able to attend the meeting.

They said they would look into the matter and report back to the committee, after several senators said denying an information request from a lawmaker was inappropriate.

“We’ll find out for you,” George said.