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."
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
Corporations spending in state elections; Kenny G and Hong Kong; states resist gay marriage and more national and international news for Thursday, October 23, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.