Kimberly Robinson (copy)

Revenue Secretary Kimberly Lewis Robinson.

Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Lewis is under consideration for a key job at LSU, officials said Wednesday.

Lewis said she has spoken with LSU President William F. Tate IV and that he told her he liked her skill set and background and felt she would be a great addition to the school.

But Lewis said that is as far as the talks went and there has been no job offer, discussion of a specific duties nor salary.

"I have a job as secretary of revenue," said Lewis, formerly Kimberly Lewis Robinson.

Asked about the possibility Lewis will join LSU school spokesman Ernie Ballard said, "The president is building a team, and there will be an opportunity in the area of external affairs."

"No final selection has been made. Ms. Lewis has an exceptional background and would be a great addition to the LSU team, but no offer has been made at this time."

Tate, in an internal memo dated Sept. 16, praised Lewis' abilities to fill the role of executive vice-president of external affairs and public policy, which includes advocating for the school at the Legislature.

The president said the typical advertising requirements for the post would be waived to accelerate the hiring process. "I do not believe a search would generate an individual with better credentials," according to the memo.

"Also, I feel that a prolonged search process might jeopardize her recruitment," Tate said in the memo. "Finally, there is significant benefit to having her start immediately, which would provide a full semester of orientation in university operations prior to the legislative session."

The 2022 regular session starts on March 14.

Lewis is one of the most high profile members of Gov. John Bel Edwards' cabinet.

She is a familiar face at the Legislature and has testified before House and Senate committees numerous times.

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Lewis has also played visible roles in debates on taxes and other issues and has fielded various job offers during her tenure.

Lewis said she has not given serious thought to joining LSU and has not spoken to Edwards about it.

"Where we are with one disaster after another, I really have not had time to think about what's my next step," she said.

Edwards' office did not respond to a request for comment.

In his memo, Tate wrote that there are multiple reasons why the school does not need to launch a wide-ranging hunt to fill the post.

"Ms. Lewis brings a wealth of experience in the field of public policy and governmental relations," he said.

He noted she has 20 years of experience as revenue secretary and, before that, assistant secretary for legal affairs for the revenue agency, special counsel in the governor's office and time representing large firms on tax and commercial matters as a partner at a major law firm.

Tate also said in her current role Lewis "has demonstrated a unique ability to develop and maintain relationships across a broad range of business interests as well as local and statewide elected officials."

Mark Ballard of the Capitol news bureau contributed to this report

  

Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.