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Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel

 
Kay
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User ID: 1179
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01/02/2006 01:28 PM
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Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel
Blanco orders remodeling just after storms

Office tab: $564,838



By MARK BALLARD
[email protected]
Capitol news bureau


Advocate staff photo by LIZ CONDO
Chris Scherer, foreman with CW Custom Cabinets, cleans up after installing walnut paneling and cabinetry Friday in the conference room on the sixth floor of the Capitol. Members of Gov. Kathleen Blanco's staff are scheduled to move into the newly renovated offices on Tuesday.
Some members of the governor's staff will return from the three-day holiday on Tuesday to newly renovated offices at the State Capitol.
Shortly after the two hurricanes, Gov. Kathleen Blanco decided to renovate some of her staff's offices. At the time of her decision, Blanco also was hinting at deep budget cuts to state programs and the possibility of laying off 20 percent of the state workforce.

The project cost $564,838.

The newly refurbished office space on the sixth floor of the State Capitol includes hookups and mounts for two flat screen televisions, Swedish granite countertops, walnut paneling and frosted laminated glass. The floor, which will not be accessible to the public, was redesigned to add three new offices, a conference room and file storage areas.

About 20 members of the governor's staff who focus on constituent services, children's issues, women's policies and other functions will work on the newly restored floor.

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Concerned about the perception of fixing up their office space while slashing others' spending, Jimmy Clarke, Blanco's chief of staff, said Friday the governor's top aides considered not fixing the 6th floor.

But the sixth floor project was bid six days before Hurricane Katrina came ashore near Buras on Aug. 29. Clarke said he became concerned that the state could be sued successfully if the restoration project were shut down.

"We certainly would not have initiated this work post-Katrina and Rita," Clarke said. "Given all that the state faces at this time, these renovations would be a very low priority."

The floor had not been improved since the early 1980s and the space needed to be upgraded to meet safety codes, Clarke said.

Restoration work began on the sixth floor Oct. 10, two weeks after Hurricane Rita struck Cameron on Sept. 24.

The week before work began, Blanco ordered a spending and hiring freeze to rein in state government expenses.

Three days after crews started tearing out the old offices, the administration announced that the state's budget would be about $1 billion short because of damages caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That day, Commissioner of Administration Jerry Luke LeBlanc told a legislative finance committee that the budgets supplying money for public health care and education would need cuts of 20 percent or more and that more than 18,000 state employees would have to be laid off.

All three floors that the governor and her staff occupy saw some upgrades, said William Wilson, director of the Office of State Buildings.

A bathroom was added to the fifth floor and new carpet was added to all three floors, he said.

But the sixth floor saw the most work, costing almost $300,000 alone, he said.

Like most of the government offices in the State Capitol, which was built in art deco style in 1932, offices line the perimeter of the sixth floor with one office per window. The center section had offices and storage space, he said.

With copy machines in the halls and files stacked in corners, "it really wasn't very efficient," Wilson said.

The center section was ripped out and rebuilt to include three new offices, space for student workers and a new conference room. The coffee room in the northwest corner was modernized.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
BULLSHIT
User ID: 197
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01/02/2006 03:09 PM
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Re: Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel
You need to go get some reading comprehension skills. dumbass
Kay  (OP)

User ID: 1179
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01/02/2006 04:23 PM
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Re: Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel
Really? What is so hard to comprehend about this:




"Shortly after the two hurricanes, Gov. Kathleen Blanco decided to renovate some of her staff's offices. At the time of her decision, Blanco also was hinting at deep budget cuts to state programs and the possibility of laying off 20 percent of the state workforce."
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
Anonymous Coward
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01/02/2006 04:57 PM
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Re: Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel
"The newly refurbished office space on the sixth floor of the State Capitol includes hookups and mounts for two flat screen televisions, Swedish granite countertops, walnut paneling and frosted laminated glass. The floor, which will not be accessible to the public, was redesigned to add three new offices, a conference room and file storage areas.

The floor had not been improved since the early 1980s and the space needed to be upgraded to meet safety codes, Clarke said."

State offices with granite counter tops, flat screen TV's, walnut paneling?

They are public servants not royality.
Kay  (OP)

User ID: 1179
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01/02/2006 04:59 PM
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Re: Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel
Really disgusting.

Matt Drudge was going crazy on the radio last night about it.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)
Elite Pete
User ID: 46032
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01/02/2006 05:04 PM
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Re: Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel
In the U.S. most all politicians of both parties as most all civil service managers in federal and state government agencies as most all military officers who control federal funds as most all CEO's of major corporations as most all the elite across the country feel they are privilized, above the law, and can do whatever they want to do with the resources they control. And why not, given a self-absorbed, generally ignorant, gullible public.
Anonymous Coward
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01/02/2006 05:06 PM
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Re: Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel
How about:

"...the sixth floor project was bid six days before Hurricane Katrina came ashore near Buras on Aug. 29. Clarke said he became concerned that the state could be sued successfully if the restoration project were shut down."
Kay  (OP)

User ID: 1179
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01/02/2006 05:09 PM
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Re: Governor of Louisiana uses Katrina funds for lavish office remodel
Well, that depends upon when the bid was accepted.

I don't think a time limitation of 6 days is normal for government contract bids.

A 'no' would have been appropriate.

The government people are brazen! They think we are so stupid!

Geez!
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." (Colossians 2:8)





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