Wednesday, March 01, 2006


$1.5 Million New Staff For Governor

Advocate staff report

State seeks managers for recovery funds

The state is starting a search for six employees to manage the billions of dollars in federal aid for hurricane recovery.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco is creating a Disaster Recovery Unit to oversee the funds. The unit will have a $1.5 million payroll. Workers will be hired and fired at the governor’s discretion.

Blanco has approval to hire 27 employees. She is starting with six: director, assistant director, director of economic development, director of financial affairs, director of housing, and director of infrastructure.

The positions are supposed to be advertised within a week, said Jim Baronet, spokesman for the Division of Administration.

Smith to keep post as OEP control moves

Jeff Smith will continue to serve as director of the state Office of Emergency Preparedness after it moves under the governor’s personal control this week.

The Legislature made the office a separate state agency during the recent special session. The change removes the office from the Louisiana National Guard’s direct oversight.

Blanco argued the move will raise the visibility of the state’s emergency response effort to disasters such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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