Commentary: An ugly bill_lowres

Gov. John Bel Edwards and Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne (foreground) presented the governor's budget proposal for fiscal 2019 to a joint legislative committee earlier this year.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said it’s possible his top lieutenant Jay Dardenne could be the next president of LSU, but that the position’s opening will draw a lot of good candidates and he doesn’t know how a search by the school’s board will turn out.

“I’m not going to say it’s not possible,” Edwards said in response to a question on his monthly Ask the Governor radio show. “He’s been a great commissioner of administration. I don’t have a crystal ball to know exactly what his interest level is or what the board will do.”

Edwards added that anytime a position at LSU opens up, Dardenne’s name is floated, and that he has an “excellent resume.”

The head of LSU’s Board of Supervisors, Edwards appointee Mary Werner, said the board will launch a nationwide search after Christmas to replace President F. King Alexander, who was tapped last week to run Oregon State University after seven years leading LSU.

A Baton Rouge native who served in the state Legislature and as Louisiana’ secretary of state and lieutenant governor before an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2015, Dardenne crossed party lines to support Edwards in the runoff that year against former U.S. Sen. David Vitter. Edwards rewarded him with a high-ranking post as commissioner of his administration, where he oversees the budget, among other things.

Werner said she won’t give extra points for local candidates in the search for LSU’s leader.

Email Sam Karlin at skarlin@theadvocate.com