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Pay plan disposition may signal Jindal strategic shift

The perfunctory approval of the Joint Governmental Affairs Committee of the latest pay plan to make it out of the State Civil Service Commission, and then its expected approval next week by that body, may signal a shift of strategy in the long campaign by the Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration to create a more efficient classified civil service.

This endorsement of the rather tepid changes, which now sends the proposal back to the SCSC for public comment and formal approval at its next meeting next week, does not now attain what Jindal has stated he wants in a new pay plan. Principally, it does not allow for pay raise levels to be tied to evaluation category (the present five being collapsed into three), nor within a level allowing agency supervisors flexibility in determining raises. The one-size-fits all current system where roughly 99 percent of rated employees fall into the top three categories and all get the same four percent raise acts more as a cost-of-living raise (an actual one not given now for over a decade) than any motivational tool or wise expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars that accurately matches compensation to productivity.

Yet the new plan, less bold that ones passed out by the SCSC previously when not all non-elected appointees had come from Jindal but he vetoed as they did not contain exactly what he wanted, looks certain to go to Jindal as he has given no indication that he will reject it.


Maybe good politics, but Landrieu on jury bad for process

It’s great politics for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to serve on a jury. But the symbolic benefits he seeks to reap for his own ambitions come with real costs to the integrity of the judicial process – and might backfire on him if things go to an extreme conclusion.

This week, Landrieu found himself in the jury pool, and then was accepted by parties to the trial of accused murdered Gerald Nickles. He perceives the experience as beneficial to his quest to gain insight into ways to lower the nation’s homicide rate of any major city over the past few years by examining this microcosm of the larger environment (Landrieu is a lawyer by trade but did not practice criminal law).

Yet his service, which he no doubt hopes generates an aura that he doesn’t see himself as too important to try to avoid an important civic duty and that’s he’s an ordinary, concerned, and dutiful citizen like voters fancy themselves to be, appears problematic on a practical level for a few reasons.


Vitter reform bill helpful to reduce poverty, increase growth

Last month, Sen. David Vitter, along with several other senators, joined House colleagues in introducing their version of the Welfare Reform Act of 2011 that promises to right-size and make appropriate taxpayer efforts to assist those truly down on their luck and in need of social welfare  assistance.

Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the uninformed who 15 years ago claimed work and time requirements placed on recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families would cause widespread poverty and misery, the opposite happened as rolls of those using the program declined, in some cases dramatically. Further, states with more restrictive requirements saw the biggest decline, while economic fluctuations played a minor role. In other words, making this cash benefit program available only to the truly needy, structured in a way that would encourage self-sufficiency rather than dependency, worked.

But the problem is, that was just one of over six dozen federal programs that provide some type of anti-poverty assistance and thereby solved only a small part of the difficulty in ensuring only the deserving poor receive such benefits as today the typical recipient of anti-poverty funds receives an average of $19,000 per year costing taxpayers $871 billion in 2010.


LA Democrats delude selves in analyzing election results

Readers who desire an illustration of the definition of the phrase “whistling in the dark” need look no further than comments made by organizational and legislative leaders of Louisiana Democrats, on the subject of what the party and its candidates did in this past election cycle to win what they did in the Legislature, and what they need to do going forward to improve on that performance.

The template the likes of party Chairman Buddy Leach and legislative leader Eric LaFleur are attempting to have some compliant media and uninformed public accept is that, against tremendous odds and badly lacking in resources, the party’s legislative losses were sparse because it’s on the right track to “rebuild.” Hence, the argument goes, state Democrats need only do more of what they did in order to become more competitive and, as far as policy impact over the next four years, they remain substantially influential.

The first part, that candidates and their stated issue preferences carried the day against a presumed GOP onslaught, conceivably could apply only in a limited number of circumstances.


Roemer wishes to be Trojan Horse for Obama reelection?

Tired of banging his head against a wall he thinks doesn’t exists, former Gov. Buddy Roemer has decided to change strategy in his quest to slay his inner demons. But in doing so, in fact ultimately will he end up contributing to the problem he claims that exists of which he has faith he is part of the solution?

Roemer, plying his trade as a banking owner and executive for much of his post-gubernatorial career, has met the enemy and declared they are us, thereby engaging in a quixotic quest to win the Republican 2012 presidential nomination on a platform that moneyed interests have disproportionate power in politics. That campaign has gone nowhere, as polling of those likely to participate in the primary election process have had little appetite for a Roemer candidacy, where his drawing one percent of their support has been a good day.

Reasons for Roemer’s unpopularity have little to do with the reason Roemer fantasizes causes it. He thinks it’s because of his inability to raise much money because he limits donations to his campaign to $100, and if he had more resources the message that so resonated with the public could get out. In reality, it’s because Roemer’s messenger has little credibility and his message stinks, like a guy who’s a financier can deliver a credible conspiracy-driven rap against money or, better yet, can convince the public he’s the guy to put in charge when he can’t even prevent the likes of jailbirds David Duke and Edwin Edwards from denying him reelection to his last executive branch gig.