Edwin Edwards writing a book
Former Gov. Edwin Edwards continues to work on a new book, but he said last week it’s going more slowly than he anticipated.
“I won’t be able to finish it this year,” said Edwards, adding he’s been distracted with speaking appearances and events promoting his authorized biography “Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana.”
The 85-year-old four-term governor said the new book will share “more details into the trial,” a reference to the federal court proceedings that led to his conviction on racketeering charges.
The timing of the Jindal administration’s planned layoff of nearly 1,500 employees of LSU’s seven hospitals across Louisiana caught the attention of a Monroe state representative last week.
LSU system Executive Vice President Frank Opelka, who is overseeing the project, told the Legislature’s health care committees that employees should lose their jobs by year’s end.
“It will be just in time for Christmas,” said state Rep. Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe. “That’s quite a gift.”
Jindal: Campaign not about best speech
Gov. Bobby Jindal is banking on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picking up traction and ousting President Barack Obama from the White House.
Jindal talked about the tight presidential race while in Las Vegas last week to make an appearance at a fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
“This isn’t about who looks best on TV or who gives the best speech,” Jindal said in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The president has done his best the last four years, but his best isn’t good enough.”
Jindal shows support to Florida GOP
Gov. Bobby Jindal traveled Saturday to Gainesville, Fla. to attend an event in support of the Florida Republican Party, according to the governor’s press office.
Jindal also was slated to attend the LSU-Florida football game. He was scheduled to return to Baton Rouge Saturday evening.
Pay boost for one state employee
The state Civil Service Commission has given special permission for a nearly $20,000 pay raise for a rank-and-file employee of the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
The beneficiary of the pay boost is Jonie Smith, who works with emerging work force programs involving community action agencies as well as veterans and disabled programs. Workforce officials told Civil Service that Smith had been offered an outside job at higher pay and the agency could not afford to lose her.
Civil Service rules allow the agency to match the private sector offer. In this case, it would have boosted Smith’s pay from $47,570 a year to $53,000. But the agency sought a $67,000 a year salary.
Commission member Scott Hughes said a lot of good employees have been lost to layoffs.
“I’m not going to cast a vote to set a precedent for one employee ... I believe it’s a barn door we are opening that will not get shut,” said Hughes, suggesting other agencies would seek similar actions.
“Given the current economic situation and the downsizing we have approved, we won’t see much of this,” commission Vice Chairman John McLure said.
Ashley Gautreaux, the agency’s human resources director, deemed Smith a “critical” employee. Smith has worked for the agency since December 2010.
Civil Service assistant director Jean Jones said based on Civil Service records Smith barely meets minimum job standards for the job she’s in.
The commission went along with the nearly $20,000 pay increase with Hughes the only dissenter.
appear at CABL
The Council for a Better Louisiana will host an event Dec. 12 featuring four former Louisiana governors for what it calls “a lively conversation covering more than three decades of Louisiana politics.”
Participating will be Govs. Edwin Edwards, Buddy Roemer, Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco.
The special event marking CABL’s 50th anniversary will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Capitol Center in Baton Rouge.
The “conversation” will be recorded for statewide broadcast in partnership with Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
Seating is limited and reservations are required. For information call (225) 344-2225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CABL is a not-for-profit organization that lobbies governmental issues.
Top 10 legislators
State Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, was named one of Blueprint Louisiana Top 10 legislators for 2012.
House Education Chairman Carter and his counterpart in the upper chamber, state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metarie, were chosen because they helped guide much of the legislation that overhauled public schools during the 2012 regular legislative session, according to Blueprint Louisiana, a Baton Rouge-based nonprofit that studies and pushes for changes in government policies.
The group’s board is made up of well-known businessmen and professionals from across the state.
State Rep. Stephen Pugh, R-Ponchatoula, and state Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, were tapped for shepherding legislation that limits the terms of school board members, according to another Blueprint press release.
State Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, and state Rep. Joseph Lopinto, R-Metairie, were cited for criminal justice legislation.
The chairmen of the two legislative committees overseeing pension plans for state employees — state Rep. Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell, and state Sen. Elbert Guillory, D- Opelousas — also were praised by the group.
Both House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, and Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, also received the group’s distinction.
Carter and the nine others will be recognized Wednesday at Blueprint’s Board of Trustees meeting in Baton Rouge.
Congressional debate slated at Press Club
The Baton Rouge Press Club is hosting a debate for U.S. Representative 6th Congressional District candidates Monday.
Candidates Rufus Holt Craig Jr., Libertarian-Baton Rouge, and Richard “RPT” Torregano, No Party-Baton Rouge, will be in attendance.
Incumbent William “Bill” Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, was invited to participate in the debate but declined.
Press Club meets Mondays at the De La Ronde Hall in downtown Baton Rouge at 320 Third St. Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers.
The public is invited.
Compiled by The Advocate Capitol news bureau. Contact email address is