Saturday, June 7, 2008

Buddy Jindal

The Jindal administration could be about to come to a screeching halt due to an astounding bit of incompetence on behalf of the Governor and his staff. You see, it seems the Governor has failed to submit to the Senate for approval several hundred appointments he's made since becoming taking office in January. As a result, those appointments are considered temporary and will expire unless confirmations are rushed through!

Here's how The Baton Rouge Advocate reports it:
Every appointment that Gov. Bobby Jindal has made since he took office in January is in jeopardy because he has not forwarded their names for Senate confirmation.

The appointments by Jindal for 437 jobs — including his top aides — will no longer be valid and they will have to stop working as of June 23, when the legislative session adjourns, according to the state law governing the confirmation process.

Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman state Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, asked Jimmy Faircloth, the governor’s executive counsel, Wednesday to send the official list.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, the list still had not arrived.

The Senate cannot confirm Jindal’s appointees until the list arrives, Kostelka said.
Senator Kostelka has been busy trying to keep and extend a wall of secrecy around the governor and his staff and ensuring that the new ethics regime remains unworkable, but somehow this bit of essential government work just came to his attention.

Who's positions are at stake? Oh, no one important:
Jindal’s top staff, his Cabinet secretaries and other top state agency officials, as well as members of state boards and commissions are among those needing to be confirmed by the state Senate.
This is how the procedure has worked for years, or, at least, until Team Jindal landed on the Fourth Floor of the Capitol:
The Senate gets copies of commissions issued when appointments are made that are filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. But the law requires governors and other statewide officials, who make appointments, to submit lists of their picks to the Senate.

Other statewide officials have complied, according to Senate records.

Kostelka’s committee is charged with conducting confirmation hearings on the governor’s appointees as well as those of other statewide elected officials.

The panel is the screening committee for the full Senate.

The panel conducts background checks on the appointees to make sure there are no criminal, tax or other problems in their personal histories. In addition, the names are circulated among senators to see if the senators have a problem with any of the appointees. Senators can blackball an appointee.

Jindal did not respond to four requests for an interview placed through his press secretary, Melissa Sellers.
Denial is, apparently, a major river now flooding the Fourth Floor and threatening to drown all of Jindal's executive appointments.

The Jindal bubble is so tightly sealed that Kostelka felt compelled to have to go public with the information in the hope that someone on the Governor's staff might (accidentally) read the story in the paper and see the need for action.

Jindal's imperial style of governing — learned at the knee of Mike Foster but honed to a fine sheen serving in the Bush administration and the Congress — has little use for law, rules or limitations. Those are for suckers!

Jindal operates on a rarefied plane where he is always the smartest person in the room and others are always deferential. It appears that the Governor could benefit from having his bubble pierced and recognizing that, from time-to-time, he'll have to comply with the mundane rules that governed his merely human predecessors.

The Jindal administration's 'we're special, so we need special rules' attitude hasn't been seen in such stark display in Baton Rouge since the days of Buddy Roemer's administration. That kinship borne of arrogance might explain why the two (Jindal and Roemer) work so well together on behalf of John McCain. They are kindred spirits.

With time and luck, if Jindal keeps on his present path, he could well meet Roemer's fate of being a one-term governor.

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