Lafayette Housing Authority Executive Director Walter Guillory’s claim of a HUD requirement that one of the case managers it hired for the Disaster Housing Assistance Program hold a doctorate, as reported by The Daily Advertiser today, is quite surprising. Neither he nor Deputy Director Jonathan Carmouche mentioned the requirement over the past couple of weeks in their ongoing attempts to justify paying Chris Williams $37 an hour as a case manager for the controversial program. And it was nowhere in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s requirements for case managers, which were reviewed for this week’s cover story, “Self-Serving.”
As it turns out, there was no such HUD or DHAP requirement for case managers working on the program, which was abruptly canceled by LHA’s board last Friday.
“HUD does not require that any of the staff have a doctorate,” says Shantae Goodloe, a public affairs rep for HUD in Washington, D.C. “Our guidelines for the program speak to the services provided, the percentage/ratio of staff required to serve the affected public, partnerships which may be beneficial to ensure the program successfully provides the services within the existing [public housing authority] structure and budget constraints, the need to provide equal access to all program participants, etc.” Goodloe says the skills, experience, and education level of the staff is not determined by HUD. “The Contractor who employs the staff may have this specific requirement; however, HUD is not privy to their hiring practices or selection process.”
Guillory told The Daily Advertiser that because Williams held the “required” doctorate, he suggested Carmouche interview him for the job, which started out paying $11 an hour in 2007 but was later increased to $37 an hour. Williams, who has degree in economics from UL Lafayette and a master’s degree in political science from Southern University, earned a doctorate from Union Institute and University, through correspondence courses.
Guillory clarified this morning that the “requirement” was his, not HUD’s. “We were looking for a Ph.D.,” he says. “If I said that [HUD required it], that was certainly a mistake.” Guillory had no explanation for why only one case manager was required to have a Ph.D. (he says another has a master’s degree) when they were all hired to do the same type work and none was in charge of the other.
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.