The Jindal administration initially expressed support for its health chief, Bruce Greenstein, as it canceled a Medicaid claims processing contract with Client Network Services Inc. amid grand jury probes.
But Greenstein, a former CNSI official, soon became Jindal’s ex-health secretary.
Greenstein tells a state grand jury that Paul Rainwater — the man who said the administration “had confidence in Bruce” — told him to resign less than a week later, according to a transcript of the grand jury proceedings.
Greenstein said it was “all a consequence” of what was going on but he was never specifically given a reason. Later, he said he found out the administration cited improper contacts between himself and CNSI officials before, during and after the contract award.
“They just told you — like, they just gave you a box and told you that was it?” a grand juror asked.
“Actually, it was worse than that. I wasn’t in the office,” Greenstein said.
“You got fired on your day off? Wow,” the juror responded.
“And they wouldn’t let me back in the building,” Greenstein said.
Schroder backpedals on reporter remark
State Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, tried to backtrack on earlier comments that one way to smooth implementation of a troubled law he helped sponsor was to ignore questions from reporters.
Schroder made his initial comment on Oct. 1 to a steering committee that is grappling with the rollout of a state law aimed at making it easier for some special education students to get a traditional high school diploma.
Last Wednesday, Schroder told the panel that, while he does not make a habit of talking to reporters, he would never tell others not to talk to the news media.
The law has triggered criticism from local educators, threats of a cut in federal funding and worries about possible parental lawsuits.
The measure may require a “cleanup” bill during the 2015 legislative session to address problems spawned by the original measure, which is Act 833.
Long weekends ahead for state employees
State employees can look forward to several four-day weekends between now and the start of the new year.
Thanksgiving always falls on Thursday and Gov. Bobby Jindal has proclaimed the Friday afterward “Acadia Day” just as governors before him.
But it just so happens Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Thursdays this year. And Jindal has proclaimed the Fridays after each holidays as well.
“The citizens of the State of Louisiana and the officers and employees of the departments of the State will benefit from an additional legal holiday during a period when families traditionally gather together to remember their blessings and promote family values,” according to proclamations Jindal signed for each.
Jindal speaking at ProFamily conference
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has had a pretty light travel schedule since last week’s election, but today he’s heading to Dallas for the ProFamily Legislative Network conference.
Per Jindal’s office, he’ll be returning after he speaks at the event, which also features U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas; former Congressman Bob McEwen, now executive director of the conservative Council for National Policy; and Fox News commentator Todd Starnes.
Tickets for the three-day conference cost $349 for legislators and $399 for nonlegislators.
The ProFamily Legislative Network was established to promote conservative positions on marriage, abortion, gambling and parental rights, among other issues. It passes information on to legislators and activists across the country. It’s an offshoot of WallBuilders, another religious/conservative group.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has called founder David Barton a “fervent homophobe.” SPLC also claims that the group’s conferences “offer media training and strategy sessions to far-right lawmakers who want tips on how to succeed in getting their legislative agenda through.”
Superintendent back at work in West Feliciana
West Feliciana Parish School District Superintendent Hollis Milton, who suffered a heart attack last month, is back at work and attended Friday’s meeting of the Superintendents’ Advisory Council.
Milton, 42, is expected to make a full recovery.
He was greeted and hugged by colleagues before the meeting.
Governor set for ‘Meet the Press’ interview
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is scheduled to sit down Sunday morning for an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd to air on “Meet The Press.”
According to NBCNews.com, the interview will include a discussion of Jindal’s decision not to expand the state’s Medicaid rolls under the federal Affordable Care Act.
“And, of course, we’ll ask about his 2016 ambitions,” the news site teases.
Jindal is expected to announce in the coming weeks or months whether he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016. Term-limited in his current office, he has spent the past several months traveling to key presidential states, including Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Florida.
Retired general set to speak to Press Club
Wesley K. Clark, a retired four-star general in the U.S. Army, will be the speaker for Monday’s edition of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
Clark will discuss partisan politics and its threat to Louisiana for Lifeline, a cellphone service for low-income seniors, veterans and minorities connecting them to health, safety and employment opportunities.
Clark is now chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates.
The Press Club meets at the Belle of Baton Rouge Hotel, 102 France St. Parking is free in the garage off Mayflower Street. The meeting will be in the East & West Baton Rouge Rooms.
Lunch, which is served at 11:30 a.m., is $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers. The public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and the news media are allowed to ask questions.
Waguespack to speak to Roundtable group
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry president Stephen Waguespack will be the guest speaker for Thursday’s meeting of the Ascension GOP Roundtable.
The Roundtable, sponsored by Ascension Republican Women, will be held at 11:30 a.m. at Kamal’s Kafe, 13091 Airline Highway in Gonzales.
Prior to joining LABI in 2013, Waguespack served as special counsel and director of the multi-state Governmental Relations practice for Jones Walker, a Louisiana-based law firm. He served in several different roles for Gov. Bobby Jindal, including chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, executive counsel and policy director.
Cost for the buffet lunch is $15 with RSVP and $17 at the door. The event is open to the public and guests are welcome. Reservations are requested. RSVP by calling (225) 644-5728 or emailing ARWrUS@aol.com.
School Board runoff candidates at forum
Candidates in the runoff for East Baton Rouge Parish School Board will speak at a forum Thursday sponsored by Leaders With Vision.
Jennifer Andrews and Mark Bellue, candidates for District 1, along with Jerry Arbour and Evelyn Ware-Jackson from District 5, as well as Christopher Bailey and Connie Bernard, of District 8, are expected to attend.
The forum takes place at noon Thursday in the Audubon Room at the Drusilla Place Restaurant, 3482 Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge.
For reservations email LWVVision@LMVision.org or call (225) 927-2255.
Compiled by The Advocate Capitol news bureau. Contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org. For up-to-the-minute news from the Louisiana Legislature, state and federal government, follow our Poltics Blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog or on Twitter, @AdvocateCNB.