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Archive for the ‘Budget’ Category

“They’re still negotiating with the terrorists.”

That gem, said in a private email to LouisianaVoice, came from a blogger who is relative new on the scene but who is very perceptive about what the Bobby administration is trying to do to higher education. https://lahigheredconfessions.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/open-letter-to-higher-education-leaders-the-time-for-negotiating-is-over/

A two-page letter today (Feb. 26) from five higher education leaders lobbed fluffy white marshmallows at Gov. Bobby and an anticipated $400 million (or more) cut to the state’s public colleges and universities. Joint Higher Education Letter 2-26-15

The letter was signed by LSU President F. King Alexander, Southern University System President Ronald Mason, Jr., Louisiana Community & Technical College System President Monty Sullivan, University of Louisiana System President Sandra K. Woodley, and Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Rallo.

Rather than digging their collective heels in and shouting “Enough!” the higher education officials attempted to appeal to Gov. Bobby’s well concealed humanitarian instincts which has about as much chance as the proverbial snowball.

The letter comes about as close as possible to the prediction of one of our readers who said the college presidents in the end would thank Gov. Bobby for not cutting them more.

The letter began, predictably, with the education officials thanking Gov. Bobby “for your support during last year’s legislative session and the creation of the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy (WISE) Fund,” calling it an “unprecedented statewide collaboration across higher education.”

The pandering continued when the letter practically pleaded with Gov. Bobby to not lose “the momentum that began last year to raise the level of educational attainment in Louisiana.”

Have these educational leaders lost their collective minds? Have they forgotten that this governor’s policies of lavishing tax exemptions and incentives on corporations like Wal-Mart, chicken plucking plants and other corporations that offer little in the way of gainful employment are directly responsible for the fiscal mess we find ourselves in today?

And while Gov. Bobby did eventually support the move, it was the legislature that repealed the Stelly Plan, one of the most progressive tax programs in the history of this state, so we’re not giving lawmakers a pass on this.

“The need for college graduates, particularly in high demand fields such as engineering, computer science, business and industrial trades, is fundamental to meeting workforce goals and ensuring Louisiana graduates are prepared to reap the economic benefits Louisiana has realized,” the shameless communication said.

“Economic benefits Louisiana has realized”? Give us a freaking break! The only economic benefits realized by this state has been realized by Gov. Bobby’s campaign contributors. Why don’t these higher education officials just go on and kiss Gov. Bobby’s ring (yeah, we cleaned that up) and get it over with?

“Commissioner (of Administration) Kristy Nichols has informed us of the impending budget shortfall and the funding impacts on higher education,” the letter continued. “We want to partner with you and our legislative leaders to craft both a short-term approach to address the immediate budget shortfall and offer long-term recommendations that fundamentally change the higher education funding model. In both instances, budget stability is the overarching goal,” it said.

First of all, the use of the word “partner” scares the hell out of us. The last time “partner” was used by this administration, it gave away an entire system of public hospitals that resulted in such an overbearing spillover to Baton Rouge General Mid-City that it is closing its emergency room, thus making it even more difficult for the poor in north Baton Rouge to obtain needed medical care.

“In the long term, higher education is requesting budget stability and increasing state supported investments in higher education,” the letter said.

“The economic stability of Louisiana hinges on our collective ability to find both a short-term solution in the budget for next year and a long-term solution to sustain and increase investments in Louisiana’s higher education system.”

If the economic stability of Louisiana hinges on the ability of this administration, we’re in for a long, hard winter of economic—and intellectual—instability.

In addition to sending the letter to Gov. Bobby, copies also were sent to Gov. Bobby’s various lap dogs in the House and Senate where it will be promptly ignored as legislators turn their attention to getting re-elected while dealing with a $1.6 billion distraction.

To paraphrase H. Ross Perot, “That giant sucking sound you hear is Louisiana college-bound students headed out of state.”

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As our friend and former State Budget Officer Stephen Winham recently said when Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s recently moved Louisiana’s credit outlook from stable to negative, the bond rating agencies are finally waking up to what the rest of us have seen coming for some time now.

Now Moody’s has gone on record as saying what Gov. Bobby refuses to acknowledge: Louisiana’s public universities are not equipped to absorb additional credit stress expected with an anticipated cuts of yet another $300 million.

State Treasurer John Kennedy agrees while Joseph Rallo, barely acclimated to his new office after being chosen last October as the state’s eighth commissioner of higher education, tried to remain optimistic in the face of the latest announcement by Moody’s that the state’s colleges and universities are now in danger of having their credit ratings reduced if the legislature does not finally grow a set and stand up to Gov. Bobby.

“Moody’s is putting us on notice that it will reduce the credit ratings…if the legislature continues to cut higher ed funding,” Kennedy said. “We’ve cut our college campuses by $700 million since 2008. We’ve made deeper cuts than any other state. Enough is enough.”

Rallo told LouisianaVoice that it is not a matter of not having the revenue available to fund higher education, but rather it is an issue of allocation of funding. He said Moody’s is holding off taking the step of actually downgrading high education’s credit rating until June in order to see what the legislature will do to resolve the funding problem.

The problem at this point is twofold: Gov. Bobby refuses to take steps to increase revenue and legislators lack sufficient backbone to face Bobby down for fear of losing precious projects in their districts by veto. The legislature always blinks first.

Therefore, if Bobby won’t take steps to increase funding (he’s a party to that no-tax pledge the tea partiers forced down the throats of legislators and congressmen who had no taste for facing up to real problems and finding real solutions when self-serving rhetoric and pandering could get them re-elected), then the only alternative is to cut and cut again and then cut some more.

What these tea partiers and their ilk, including Gov. Bobby, refuse to admit in their manic pursuit of free market economics, is that corporate welfare (read lucrative tax breaks) costs this country many times what individual welfare costs and corporate fraud costs the nation billions upon billions more than the roughly 1 percent in documented welfare fraud (see details of the 2008 Wall Street bailout for verification). Corporations and corporate executives pay far fewer taxes, percentage-wise, than do middle- and low-income taxpayers in this country. Those are the cold, indisputable hard facts. To claim otherwise is to throw up that same tired old argument that the middle- and low-income are a drag on the nation’s economy while the super-rich produce wealth and jobs, thank you very much.

But Gov. Bobby would much rather continue doling out tax breaks that cost the state billions of dollars with little or no return than to take the necessary steps to pull the state out of the financial quagmire in which it currently finds itself and thus allow college to be affordable to the middle class and for the working poor of this state to have access to health care.

And legislators are a party to the scheme and must share the blame. Let’s consider some projects in the districts of four key legislators from the 2014 legislative session:

  • Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Fannin: $13 million in projects, including the Jackson Parish Riding Arena and Livestock Pavilion ($195,000 last year, $1.4 million in Priority 2 and $1.6 million in Priority 5 funding;
  • Senate President John Alario: $121 million in projects for Jefferson Parish;
  • House Speaker Chuck Kleckley: $107 million in projects in Calcasieu Parish;
  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue: $60 million in projects in St. Tammany Parish.

And then there are these little projects we found in last year’s capital outlay bill:

  • City Parish Golf Complex improvements (Orleans)—$9.1 million;
  • Junior Golf Training Facilities (Caddo)—$445,000;
  • Golf Course Development (Calcasieu)—$1.6 million;
  • Zephyrs Baseball facilities repair (Jefferson)—$1.5 million;
  • Professional Sports facilities improvements (Jefferson, Orleans)—$18.4 million;
  • New Orleans Sports Arena improvements (Orleans)—$41.5 million;
  • Bayou Segnette Recreation Complex (Jefferson)—$5.5 million;
  • Improvements to New Orleans Superdome—$6 million;
  • Recreational complex (Iberia)—$100,000;
  • Baseball stadium improvements (East Baton Rouge)—$1.4 million (Baton Rouge has no baseball team);
  • Improvements to amusement area, tennis center improvements (Orleans)—$1.2 million;
  • Repairs to Strand Theatre (Caddo)—$950,000;
  • Various community centers (statewide)—$11 million;
  • Various hall of fame projects (statewide)—$15 million.

One can just follow the money to see why legislators become shrinking violets when Gov. Bobby is holding that veto pen. Sure, there will be all manner of posturing, bluster and harangue but in the end, they always end up going along with whatever the governor wants.

And the governor wants what the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) wants and ALEC wants to take the state out of state universities.

And Louisiana isn’t alone.

If you don’t believe that, just take a look at what is going on in Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona and Kansas. http://neatoday.org/2015/02/19/cuts-to-higher-education-taking-public-public-universities/

  • Louisiana: Tuition costs have increased 90 percent since Gov. Bobby took office;
  • Arizona: Tuition has more than tripled while state funding has decreased by $3,500 per student;
  • Wisconsin: Like Louisiana, $2 billion tax cuts have resulted in $300 million in cuts to higher education that could eliminate the schools of nursing, law, business, pharmacy and veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison even as Gov. Scott Walker lobbies for $220 million in public donations to the Milwaukee Bucks to build a new team arena;
  • Illinois is losing $2.1 billion in tax revenues because of lawmakers’ refusal to extend taxes that are expiring even as colleges are facing a $400 million cut;
  • Kansas is projecting a loss of $5 billion in revenues because of reckless tax cuts and higher education, not surprisingly, is on the chopping block.

It’s not a coincidence, it’s a pattern. And what would one suppose these five states have in common besides this disturbing trend in higher education funding?

Republican governors who feel they owe their allegiance not to the voters of their states, oddly enough, but to ALEC and the Koch brothers who insist on defunding state colleges and universities in the hopes they will be forced to become private universities.

That, of course, will drive tuition up even further, necessitating much larger student loans and greater profits to lending institutions and Wall Street. It also will make a college education assessable only to the wealthy while relegating the rest of society to low paying jobs in the service sector in the absence of manufacturing jobs that have all been moved offshore.

Louisiana, says Moody’s latest assessment, has had the steepest declines in state funding in the nation from 2009 through 2014.

“As the state tries to close its widening budget gap, Louisiana public universities will face additional reductions in state appropriations,” the assessment said. “After five years of the deepest cuts to public higher education in the nation and significant expense reductions, these universities are ill-equipped to face additional credit stress.”

Moody’s said the timing and magnitude of budget cuts, the ability of universities to quickly align expenses with revenue, and the degree of financial cushion to absorb operating volatility “will factor into our assessment of ratings and outlooks for individual universities.

“Currently, Louisiana public university credit quality is lower than the median A1 nationally, reflecting historically weak state funding, anemic operating performance and limited liquidity,” the report said.

So while legislators wring their hands and gnash their teeth over the hard decisions they’re going to have to make this year, just remember no one held a gun to their heads and made them drop those golf courses and baseball parks into the Capital Outlay bill last year. And the year before that. And the year before that.

And remember that Gov. Bobby and ALEC do not (boldface that: Do Not) have the survival of our universities as public institutions as a priority item. If they are ultimately forced to become private colleges, that will be perfectly fine with them.

With all due respect to Dr. Rallo, we shouldn’t expect too much from this governor in the way of meaningful solutions to a problem that has persisted since he became governor more than seven years ago—long before the latest decline in oil prices which he conveniently uses as a scapegoat for Louisiana’s fiscal ills.

The late Wiley Hilburn, who headed up the journalism program at Louisiana Tech University, once told us that Bobby visited the Ruston campus when he was Commissioner of Higher Education under former Gov. Mike Foster, ostensibly to get an overview of university operations. Instead he spent his entire visit in Hilburn’s office playing computer games.

Perhaps that’s what Louisiana’s public colleges and universities are to Gov. Bobby—a game with students serving only as action figures for his personal enjoyment.

It certainly appears that that’s all this state is to him.

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The Baton Rouge Advocate had a superb story today (Sunday, Feb. 22) that revealed that Gov. Bobby was out of state 45 percent of the time during 2014 at a direct cost of $314,144 to taxpayers in travel, lodging, meals and rental vehicles for state police security details. You can add another $58,500 (45 percent of his $130,000 per year salary) in additional costs for which taxpayers got no return while he was chasing the pipe dream of becoming president. http://theadvocate.com/news/education/11626690-63/frequent-flier

What you are about to read, though, is not about that. We’ve written about his travels before and The Advocate’s story thoroughly documents the actual costs of his travel to the extent that it would be redundant for us to beat that drum here.

Instead, this story, while much shorter than my usual posts, is simply about a Smart Phone.

And it says volumes about just how casually this administration takes its responsibility for the looming $1.6 billion state budget deficit.

It also says a lot about how certain people are not above helping themselves as they prepare to head out the door even as the institutions they are sworn to protect are swallowed by the expanding financial crisis—non unlike the captain abandoning a sinking ship with passengers still on board. We can only hope they remember to turn off the lights as they leave.

It speaks to the disdain contempt these people have for moral codes and legal constraints which require that they put the welfare of the state first and their own interests last.

And it practically shouts the double standard, the hypocrisy, and the lack of character ingrained in the makeup of the very people entrusted with running the state in the most economical, most responsible and yes, the most principled, manner possible—and their willingness to take ethical shortcuts even as they create and then walk away from a huge fiscal mess for someone else to clean up.

All this fuss over a Smart Phone?

Yes, because the entire affair is symptomatic of a much greater illness—official callousness, obliviousness and indifference—character flaws this state can ill afford in its leaders.

All over a Smart Phone.

You see, Commissioner of Administration recently decided she wanted a new Smart Phone.

Not a state-owned Smart Phone, one that would remain for her successor when she leaves office, but a Smart Phone for her very own personal use, owned by her.

And she wanted the State of Louisiana (taxpayers) to pay for it, according to our source inside the Division of Administration.

And she wasn’t shy about asking the Office of Telecommunications Management (OTM) to purchase one for her.

But OTM said no.

Nichols persisted.

OTM continued to say no.

Nichols finally relented.

But it was the very act of trying to get the state to pony up the money for a Smart Phone for her personal use that rubs salt into the state’s festering fiscal wound and calls into serious question the very integrity of the entire administration of Gov. Bobby.

It Nichols’ apparent disregard for well-defined rules and regulations disallowing just such actions that leaves the authenticity of everything she says and does subject to scrutiny and justifiable skepticism.

She should never have made such a request…and she knows it.

Her attempt at compromising her office and that of OTM, however, was only an extension of an attitude that runs throughout the upper levels of state government.

From the purchase of the luxury Eddie Bauer and Harley-Davidson trucks by former Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley, to long-term Enterprise auto rentals for State Department of Education employees, to legislators who use campaign funds for LSU, Saints and Pelican tickets and for expensive meals, to last year’s unconstitutional attempt to bolster State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson’s retirement by $55,000 a year, to Deputy Commissioner of Administration Ruth Johnson’s ordering of two desktop computers, a laptop and expensive furniture for her office, there is an attitude of entitlement that permeates the offices of those who impose a completely different set of standards on the rest of us.

And it’s an attitude that flows from the top down.

And the real tragedy is nobody will do a damned thing about it.

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Even as the governor’s office was imposing travel and spending freezes as the state continued to struggle with an overwhelming budget deficit last fall, the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) was spending nearly $9,600 to send two of its top executives on five separate trips to California and Florida to train new phone bank employees to handle inquiries about pending changes to health coverage for state employees, retirees and dependents.

The expenditures also occurred in the wake of Gov. Bobby’s depletion of the OGB reserve fund from $500 million before privatization of the agency to less than half of that by last September.

A Division of Administration (DOA) employee with close ties to Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols and Deputy Commissioner Ruth Johnson revealed to LouisianaVoice last year that DOA had contracted with Ansafone which has offices to set up the phone bank to take calls from OGB members.

When we were first told of the contract, we understood the company to be Answerphone, Inc., which is in Albany, N.Y. We later learned, however, that the company was actually Ansafone with offices in Santa Ana, California and Ocala, Florida.

The dates of travel for Elise Williams Cazes and Charles Guerra to destinations in California and Florida were from Sept. 9 through Nov. 13 with Cazes running up travel, lodging, meal and car rental expenses of $5,553.74 in three trips and Guerra accounting for the remaining $4,044.33 in his two trips, records show.

Guerra is the Chief Operating Officer for OGB while Cazes, previously employed by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBS), was appointed Group Benefits Administrator last June.

The requirements for her position as the Medical/Pharmacy administrator responsible for benefit plan management and vendor performance were written especially to her qualifications, according to our same DOA source.

LouisianaVoice made a public records request on Oct. 4 for a record of Guerra’s expenses but received a response from DOA on Oct. 13 which said, “The Division of Administration has no records which are responsive to your request.”

But when DOA finally did comply with our request on Jan. 23—and only after we filed a lawsuit against the state on Jan. 16—records indicated that OGB CEO Susan West approved meal expenses of $457 for Guerra for the dates of Sept. 30 through Oct. 5. West signed off on that approval on Oct. 10, three days prior to DOA’s denial of the existence of expense records, meaning DOA had at least partial records in response to our request.

Moreover, records show that the state was billed $732.39 for Guerra’s hotel reservations for that trip on Sept. 23, a full 11 days before our request for the records was submitted and nearly three weeks prior to DOA’s denial of the records.

Likewise, Enterprise Car Rental invoiced the state another $225.82 on Oct. 5 for lease of a vehicle during Guerra’s visit to Santa Ana.

Finally, records reveal that Shorts Travel Management, which books all travel for state employees, billed the state $675.39 on Sept. 23 for Guerra’s Sept. 30 flight to California and his return to Baton Rouge on Oct. 5.

So, bottom line, the state was billed $2,090.60 for travel, car rental, lodging and meals for the first of Guerra’s two trips to California—all well before denial our public records on the basis of DOA’s claim that no such records existed.

For Guerra’s second trip to California, from Nov. 10 through Nov. 13, DOA paid $949.84 for his flight, $290.12 for his meals, $176.77 for his car rental, and $537 for his hotel. The remaining $175 was for parking, airline baggage fees and booking fees for both trips.

Cazes ran up her $5,553.74 in charges for two trips to California and one to Gainesville, Florida, as well as several trips for meetings in various localities in Louisiana in her personal vehicle.

She cost the state $787 for meals for the three out-of-state trips, along with $506.74 in parking and in-state travel in her vehicle, $2,452.34 for airline tickets, $532.80 in car rental fees, $1,197.86 for hotels and $77 in ticket booking fees.

In addition to the $9,598.07 in travel, lodging and related expenses for the two, the state also entered into a $1 million contract with Ansafone to hire 200 persons in California and Florida to field calls about sweeping changes being proposed for OGB at the time.

The “training” that Cazes and Guerra conducted on their trips consisted of a few days of reading handouts distributed to new employees hired to man the phone banks. At the end of training and the first day actually on the job the employees were informed that what they had been told in the training sessions was wrong and the Ansafone web page containing its “Five Star Recipe for Customer Service Failure” was subsequently taken down.

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In the five years we have been posting stories about Bobby’s administration, we have, from time to time, had to backtrack and admit we were wrong or were rash in our judgment. This is one of those times.

Except we may be incorrect in saying we were wrong. Got that? Read on.

Through a diligent search of payroll records, we have found that Bobby, while imploring state agencies to “do more with less,” has at least set an example of fiscal restraint for others to emulate.

Six months after taking office, the payroll in the governor’s office stood at a whopping $5.9 million. Today, a leaner and meaner staff (if indeed, it is possible to be any meaner) in the governor’s office is costing Louisiana taxpayers “only” $3.9 million in salaries.

As of June 30, 2008, Bobby had 92 full time employees drawing $5,659,800 in salary (an average of $61,519 each), not including medical and retirement benefits. He also had 34 part-timers for an additional $267,900, an average of $7,879 each, according to figures obtained by LouisianaVoice.

Where the governor’s office had 92 full time employees in 2008 drawing $5.66 million, today he has only 64 full-timers making $3.66 million, records show.

The number of part time employees also has decreased from 34 in 2008 to only 21 today, but their average salaries have increased considerably.

But wait! Things are never as they seem. It turns out that several former employees were quietly moved around to other agencies and are still on the state payroll. Chance McNeely, who went from a $65,000 per year policy analyst for all of nine months to a $102,000 position as head of environmental compliance at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), comes immediately to mind.

Stephen Winham also provided this interesting information: It seems that in Fiscal year 2008-2009, there were two transfers from the governor’s office to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the following year,  two more transferred from Bobby’s office to the Board of Regents and 11 more to DEQ to prepare a place for Chance McNeely. And in FY 2012-2013, three more left the fourth floor and moved across the street to the Department of Education. Winham’s source for his information is this link: http://www.doa.louisiana.gov/OPB/pub/ebsd.htm

“You are giving them too much credit for position and funding elimination,” Winham says, “since these positions and funding were simply transferred to other departments in the state budget. Based on your information, I’m guessing that at least 64 percent of the savings you show was really just transferred out,” he said.

So, before you get too excited over the apparent good news, we have to offer our disclaimer that the numbers are somewhat misleading.

Some of those reductions could also be employees who see the writing on the wall and are simply bailing out before the end of Bobby’s term of office expires in about 11 months. In such cases, departures would have nothing to do with Bobby’s efforts to reduce his own staff numbers while gutting needed state agencies of key personnel and leaving unqualified administrators in place.

Because we were interested only in the numbers and salaries of staff members, none of the figures included Bobby’s own salary of $130,000 per year.

Nine of those full time employees in 2008 earned $100,000 per year or more. Those nine combined to earn just over $1.2 million, or an average of about $134,800 each.

In addition, the governor’s office and governor’s mansion combined to employ 20 security personnel from the Department of Public Safety (State Police) at a per diem rate of $92.32 over and above their normal salaries. Because all 20 were not on duty at the same time, it was impossible to determine the total amount paid in per diem to the security personnel.

Today, the per diem rate remains the same but we could only account for 19 security personnel, one less than in 2008. Most the other numbers, however, have decreased significantly.

One major exception is the salary of Bobby’s executive counsel. In 2008, it was Jimmy Faircloth who resigned to run unsuccessfully for the Louisiana State Supreme Court. His salary then was $167,000 per year.

The current executive counsel, Thomas Enright, who supposedly advised Bobby last June to sign that bill giving Superintendent of State Police Mike Edmonson that retirement increase that was subsequently ruled unconstitutional, currently earns $165,000 per year, $2,000 less than Faircloth.

But where there were nine employees earning $100,000 or more in June of 2008, today there are “only” seven combining to make just over $900,000, or an average of $128,585 each.

Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell was making $165,880 per year in 2008. Apparently his brother, Taylor Teepell, doesn’t have the same value to Bobby at $130,000 per year as Deputy Chief of Staff. His $130,000, incidentally, is the same that Bobby makes as governor in absentia.

Kyle Plotkin is something of a success story in Bobby’s administration. Beginning in November of 2008 with his appointment as press secretary, he was named as Special Assistant to the governor at $85,000 per year on July 26, 2011 but is now Bobby’s Chief of Staff at $165,880 per year, more than double his salary of just three years ago.

Matthew Parker, Timmy Teepell’s brother-in-law, pulls down $120,000 as one of 15 “directors” in the governor’s office, though we’re unsure as to what he directs.

In 2008, the 34 part time employees combined to make $267,900 and while the $243,300 being paid to 21 part time employees today is $24,600 less than in 2008, the average salaries of the part-timers has increased from $7,879 per year to $11,585.

In 2015, we found a couple of staffers drawing pretty good chump change considering their listed status as part time employees. Bobbie Johnson, an “assistant,” was listed at $18,574 per year and “Executive Assistant” Megan O’Quin was listed at $30,420.

But those were nothing compared with a couple of part time salaries we discovered for 2008. Michael Wascom, a part time “special counsel,” was listed at $31,949 per year while James T. Ryder, was pulling down $156,000 per year as a part time “special counsel,” just $11,000 per year less than his boss, Faircloth.

All this is well and good, Bobby; you’ve set the pace for asceticism. You slashed your staff from 126 to 85, a 32.5 percent reduction and cut the combined salaries accordingly, by 33.9 percent. Good for you.

But still, the question must be asked: does it really require 85 people to run your office when apparently it isn’t even necessary that you be there half the time? I’ve been to the fourth floor of the State Capitol. There is not room for 85 people to maneuver in that space with any efficiency.

While you have reduced the number of warm bodies in your office and while you have cut salaries significantly, we still have to wonder at the necessity of 85 people bumping into each other and apparently  getting very little done, based on any real accomplishments during your time in office.

Besides the 15 directors, there are four deputy directors, two assistant directors, two executive directors, one project director, one representative, two managers, one project manager, one executive administrative assistant, three administrative assistants, eight executive assistants, one administrative staff officer, four advisers, four coordinators, a specialist, five assistants, one executive counsel, two assistant executive counsels, a law clerk, a chief of staff, two assistant chiefs of staff, one deputy chief of staff, along with a few clerks, receptionists, a single garden variety deputy, and one housekeeper.

But just what are the duties of a director? A specialist? An administrative assistant? An executive assistant? An executive administrative assistant? An advisor? What does a coordinator coordinate? What’s the difference between a director and a project director? What does either direct? What’s the difference between an assistant director and a deputy director? And what does a manager manage that a director can’t direct? Deputy? Deputy what? And just one housekeeper to clean up after all those people?

And just one more note, Bobby: You may pull the wool over the eyes of an old worn out news reporter but it’s difficult to fool a retired budget officer.

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