BATON ROUGE (CNS)—Gov. Bobby Jindal is green and we can prove it.
He must have the welfare of the environment uppermost in his mind. He is all about recycling. The man was born to recycle. Just examine this list:
- He recycled defeated State Rep. Jane Smith to Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue at $107,500.
- He recycled former State Rep. Kay Katz to the Louisiana Tax Commission ($56,000).
- He recycled former St. Tammany Parish President and defeated lieutenant governor candidate Kevin Davis to Director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness ($165,000).
- He recycled former Slidell police chief and mayor Ben Morris into a position at GOHSEP (unknown salary).
- He recycled former House members Rickey Hardy, Tank Powell and Mert Smiley and former Grant Parish Sheriff Leonard Hataway to the State Pardon Board ($36,000 each).
- He recycled former State Rep. Noble Ellington to Deputy Commissioner of Insurance ($150,000).
- He recycled defeated St. Barnard Parish President Craig Taffaro as the new Director of Hazard Mitigation and Recovery ($150,000).
- He recycled term-limited State Rep. Troy Hebert as Director of the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Board ($107,000).
- He recycled former State Sen. Nick Gautreaux to Commissioner of the Office of Motor Vehicles (no salary available, but it doesn’t matter; he was forced out after a few months).
- He has recycled former executive counselors Tim Barfield and Jimmy Fairchild more times than we can count and Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols has been recycled a few times in her own right.
- He recycled former State Rep. Lane Carson to Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs ($130,000).
- And now that Carson is retiring after four years on the job, we get word that Jindal is recycling Congressman Rodney Alexander to fill Carson’s post.
No sooner did Alexander announce on Wednesday that he was retiring from Congress because of his stated dissatisfaction with partisan gridlock than Jindal made the offer.
Major League Baseball’s managerial revolving door has nothing on Jindal when it comes to running the same tired old names through the system, allowing them to fatten their retirements even as Jindal is laying off state employees who need their jobs—and who actually perform work as opposed to these appointees who only occupy a desk and suck on the public teat.
It just seems to us that there are others out there who are equally—or more—qualified for these positions and it gets more disgusting with each appointment of the same fat cats to these six-figure jobs.
Of course, we know the underlying reason for recycling all these washed-up legislators: it’s to bump up their retirement benefits—at the expense of you, the taxpayer.
You see, legislators don’t really make that much in outright salary, so their retirement benefits aren’t that much—unless they can secure a six-figure job and remain in it for three years. Retirement is computed at 2.5 percent of one’s highest three years of average earnings times the number of years of service. Thus, 2.5 percent of $130,000 is considerably more than 2.5 percent of $16,000 or so.
Now with Alexander, it’s different: he already has a federal pension from his tenure as a congressman. But now, even though he cashed in his legislative retirement from his days in the legislature, he can buy all that time back and draw a state pension based on his $130,000 salary for the final three years of Jindal’s administration.
Nice gig if you happen to have the stroke to get it and of course there’s nothing like being governor and having the power to screw the taxpayers while running around preaching fiscal responsibility and laying off state workers.
Granted, we are a bit jaded and cynical from covering this administration, but if someone can convince me that fix wasn’t already in on this retirement/appointment, we’re willing to listen.
We can’t help but wonder what Alexander’s duties will entail, duties that someone else was not qualified to perform—especially since Jindal already gave out all those veterans’ medals before his 2011 re-election.
Thanks, Bobby and thanks, Rodney, for all that “good, ethical government.”