Governor could have more power to appoint level boards
Since the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed a lawsuit against almost 100 oil and gas companies last year, the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, and his coastal advisor, Garret Graves, have been outspoken opponents. The lawsuit seeks reparations for the damage and injury to the state’s coastal areas due to the building of canals and pipelines. Gov. Jindal and Graves have tried nearly everything to stop the lawsuit, including appointing new members to the SLFPA-E’s board.
Under the current rules, the nominating committee for new appointees submit two names to the governor for consideration. The governor had made it clear that he did not want to appoint Tim Doody, Jr., who is the board’s current president. The nominating committee, though, submitted Doody’s name, as well as that of a retired judge for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. The governor chose not to appoint either man. According to Graves, both men have conflicts of interest. Graves said Doody has a conflict because he is employed by a law firm that could end up representing one of the 97 oil and gas companies in the lawsuit and the judge because he is an unpaid employee of the parish with the open seat.
Under the current rules, the nominating committee can submit Doody’s name again to the governor. However, if Senator Robert Adley has his way, that could change. Sen. Adley has submitted a proposed bill that will require three names to go before the governor. If the governor rejects all three, other names could be resubmitted, but not those that were submitted the first time. Should the committee not recommend names to the governor within 90 days of a vacancy on the board or within 45 days of when they are notified that the governor rejected the previous set of names, then the governor could appoint whomever he wanted — provided the qualifications were met.
This new proposed bill has met with opposition, including some from a member of the nominating committee. He feels that the governor would gain “political power” over the levee boards. The fact that the governor can reject all nominees, according to the committee member, means that there really is no need for the committee.