The next day, however, Williams was indeed transferred to a newly created position in Baton Rouge, director of corporate services. In essence, the appointment made permanent the "temporary" special projects Williams had been working on for a week in Baton Rouge.
While LCTCS officials described the move as a "lateral transfer," the new job does represent a pay cut for Williams. In his job as regional director, Williams earned an annual base pay of $99,500 with standard benefits and no special allowances. In his new position, Williams' base pay will be $89,000 with standard benefits and no special allowances. LCTCS Vice President Jimmy Sawtelle has taken over as interim Region IV director, with the position likely to be open to applicants in order to find a permanent replacement.
In response to a public records request from The Independent Weekly, LCTCS Public Information Director Kizzy Payton issued a statement that Williams, who was named to the new post without an application or interview process, is a natural fit for the job.
LCTCS neither advertised for applicants nor posted any notice of the director of corporate services position prior to Williams' transfer.
"With the tremendous response from our colleges for certification offerings that the LCTCS provides in the area of corporate training, the need for a Director of Corporate Services position was identified," Payton's statement reads. "Dr. Williams was determined to possess the necessary skill set to quickly move these endeavors forward to better serve the needs of business and industry. Therefore, there was no notice of vacancy and call for applicants for the position."
LCTCS does have a policy requiring it to advertise and form a search committee in hiring all "full time faculty" and "administrative positions at director level or above," a provision that was in effect when Williams was hired as Region IV director.
However, LCTCS Board President Brett Mellington says that policy traditionally has not applied to the central office staff. System President Bumphus, who stepped down last month to take another job in Texas, had been responsible for such hires, according to Mellington. "He's just like the CEO of a corporation. He's going to hire the people he feels he needs. Now when we get to the chancellors and the regional directors for each of the directors, there's probably more buy-in from the community. That's why we do the searches."
Bumphus did not return multiple calls for comment.
Mellington, who also serves as downtown business development manager for the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and the Downtown Development Authority, says the move was recommended by Bumphus and approved by the board. Mellington adds that Williams' recent high-profile political and legal battles likely factored into the decision.
"We just felt that Chris would probably be better suited where he is now in the new position," says Mellington. "We feel like he's got some talents that we need in the system office. And certainly, Chris has been in the media and in the limelight quite a bit lately, and it hasn't been real positive. I think that's pretty well common knowledge. So I think that Walter [Bumphus] and [Vice President for Workforce Training and Development] Jim Henderson felt that this was the best place for him."
Williams' tenure as regional director lasted less than six months. Bumphus promoted him to the post in July after Williams' former job as Region IV vice chancellor was eliminated in an administrative streamlining of the state's community and technical college system.
Williams was not the popular choice for the regional director's job. Before the appointment was made, the LCTCS District 4 faculty senate ' a 130-member body representing the entire regional staff ' voted on which of the two final candidates, Williams and LCTCS Lafayette Campus Dean Phyllis Dupuis, it would like to see get the job. Williams got only 11 votes, while Dupuis collected 105, with the remaining faculty either abstaining or simply deciding not to vote on the issue.
LTC spokeswoman Payton says that no audits or job performance reviews were performed on Williams during his time as regional director. Mellington says Williams' transfer was not prompted by staff concerns over his hire or performance.
"We certainly are very concerned about how they feel about the way things are going," Mellington says. "The faculty is vitally important to us, and we're certainly concerned about that. Do we make higher decisions based on just their comments to us? No. We make higher decisions on what we think is best for the system and the region."
When Williams took the regional director's job, he was already involved in a contentious crusade on the city-parish council to have Willow Street renamed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (After more than a year of stalemate on the issue, the council recently passed a resolution supporting a memorial thruway along Willow Street.) Williams accused fellow councilmen who were resistant to the idea of racism and helped organize pickets outside of council meetings and at this year's Festival International.
Less than a week after Williams began working as the Region IV director for LCTCS, he wrote "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive!" on the council dais following one of its meetings. Councilman Randy Menard turned Williams in for defacing public property, sparking a prolonged legal battle in which Williams attempted to have all parish judges barred from hearing the case. Williams has appealed his sentence, which included community service and a fine.
Williams, who did not return a call for comment, is term-limited off the city-parish council at the end of this year and widely rumored to be eyeing a possible run for state legislative office. In his new position with LCTCS, Williams, who previously reported directly to Bumphus, will now commute to Baton Rouge to work directly under Henderson.
In her answer to The Independent's public records request, Payton says Williams will "develop and implement [a] business plan for the delivery of system level, non-credit corporate training (e.g. Command Spanish, Lean Six Sigma and HazMat, etc.) to include analysis of demand, development of marketing strategies, and execution process design."
"I think [Williams] has got some talents that Jim Henderson felt he could use," Mellington says. "Workforce development, he's been involved in that. He knows a lot of people, makes contacts, so that's why we moved him."
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.