Reports out of the State Capitol on Tuesday has yet another state employee about to become a victim of the ongoing Piyush Purge.
LouisianaVoice has learned of plans by the administration to fire LSU System Office General Counsel Raymond Lamonica.
If true, Lamonica would be the third LSU official to be teagued by Jindal in less than six months. System President John Lombardi was fired in April by the LSU Board of Supervisors acting on directions from the governor and last month, Dr. Fred Cerise, head of the LSU health care system similarly dismissed.
Reached at home Tuesday, Lamonica acknowledged that he had heard the reports but had no additional comment. “Not yet, anyway,” he added.
Lamonica was appointed as United States attorney for the middle district of Louisiana in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. President Bill Clinton appointed L.J. Hymel to replace him in 1994. Prior to that, Lamonica worked as executive counsel to Gov. Dave Treen.
If the reports are accurate, Lamonica would be only the latest in a growing line of rank and file state employees, agency directors and cabinet secretaries who Jindal has either fired outright or, in the case of two legislators, demoted from committee assignments.
Besides members of board and commissions who are routinely replaced by governors with political allies and campaign contributors, Jindal has replaced, in order:
• March of 2008—Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Jim Champagne, who opposed Jindal’s campaign promise to repeal the motorcycle helmet law;
• September of 2008—Department of Social Services Secretary Ann Williamson, after criticism of shelter conditions following Hurricane Gustav and problems with a post-storm food stamp program;
• June of 2009—Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Tammie McDaniel, after she disagreed with some of the administration’s public education policies;
• October 2009—Melody Teague, a social services grant reviewer, after testifying in opposition to Jindal’s plan to streamline government;
• February 5, 2010—Department of Transportation and Development Secretary William Ankner, after a company that contributed $11,000 to Jindal’s campaign was awarded a $60 million highway contract despite not having the low bid;
• August 13, 2010—State Alcohol and Tobacco Control Secretary Murphy Painter, after being accused of sexual harassment and fired after rejecting a permit application to SMG, the New Orleans Superdome management company, that would allow Budweiser to erect a large tent and signage in Champions Square. Budweiser had offered $300,000 to the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District to sponsor the tent for tailgating parties at Saints home games;
• April of 2011—Office of Group Benefits (OGB) Director Tommy Teague (husband of Melody Teague), after failing to display sufficient enthusiasm over Jindal’s plans to privatize his agency;
• June of 2011—Tommy Teague’s successor Scott Kipper, after apparently irritating his boss, Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater over the number of OGB employees he would recommend to be laid off;
• March of 2012—Office of Elderly Affairs Executive Director Mary Manuel, after testifying she was never informed of Jindal’s plans to move her agency from the governor’s office to the Department of Health and Hospitals;
• March of 2012—State Rep. Harold Richie (D-Bogalusa), demoted from his vice-chairmanship of the House Committee on Insurance after voting against a tax rebate for those who donate money for scholarships (vouchers) to private and parochial schools;
• April of 2012—LSU System President John Lombardi, after publicly criticizing massive budget cuts imposed on higher education by Jindal;
• June of 2012—Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges after it became obvious that an alternative fuel tax credit law signed by Jindal which granted tax credits for the purchase of certain fuel-efficient automobiles would cost the state upwards of $100 million;
• June of 2012—State Rep. Jim Morris (R-Oil City), was removed from his vice-chairmanship of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee after resisting efforts by Jindal to use one-time money to fund recurring expenses in the state’s General Budget;
• August of 2012—Dr. Fred Cerise, head of the LSU health care system, after criticizing Jindal budget cuts which gutted the LSU medical system of hundreds of millions of dollars.