Jindal Names New LSU Board Appointees; Former Dem Chair’s Wife Removed

This afternoon, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal replaced two members of the LSU Board of Supervisors whose terms officially expired in June. The expired members, Dr. Jack Andonie of Metairie and Laura Leach of Lake Charles, are two of the longer-serving members in the board’s recent history.

From the release out of the governor’s office…

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced appointments to the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors.

The goal of the Louisiana State University (LSU) Board of Supervisors is to provide leadership and support for the LSU System. The board aids the LSU System in the development of intellectual and professional programs of instruction, research, and public service, works to increase opportunities for students, and enhances services to the community and the state.

The board is composed of fifteen gubernatorial appointments which are subject to senate confirmation and one student member who serves a one year term. Members include: two members appointed from each congressional district and one member appointed from the state at-large serving six year terms.

Appointments to the LSU Board of Supervisors:

Scott Ballard, of Covington, is a partner of WOW Café & Wingery Franchising and Ballard Hospitality and is the Chief Executive Officer of PJ’s Coffee & New Orleans Roast. Ballard will be appointed to serve as a representative of the 1st Congressional District, as required by statute.

Lee Mallett, of Iowa, is the Owner of Mallett Buildings and is the Owner and Operator of the Academy of Training Skills. Mallett will be appointed to serve as a representative of the 7th Congressional District, as required by statute.

Ballard is a Tulane graduate who has been serving on the Louisiana Board of Regents. He’s a pretty impressive figure, having been involved in running and expanding both PJ’s and WOW for the last decade and a half. Mallett is a frequent GOP donor and a principal in one of four plants manufacturing building trusses in the state. His Academy of Training Skills is a noteworthy venture; it houses up to 200 “cadets” and is an alternative for non-violent offenders who might otherwise go to prison – training them in one of several certified training programs. It doesn’t take any state dollars to do so, charging tuition for its program to those offenders or third parties who stand for the cost of the training.

But Andonie, who has been on the LSU board for more than two decades and is considered “Mr. LSU” by some in the community, will be missed. His removal isn’t a major surprise, as Andonie is a vocal supporter of the Charity Hospitals which more and more appear to be on the verge of being phased out. Jindal said as much in a recent cable news appearance

Right now today, Louisiana actually has already had tremendous experience in government-run health care. We’re the only state in the country that runs our own government- owned, government-operated hospitals. I’ll be the first to tell you that’s not the best way to provide health care. And we’re replacing that. We’re transitioning folks on our Medicaid program to privately-run insurance coverage.

As for Leach, it’s anything but a surprise that she’s out. Her husband Buddy Leach was the chairman of the Louisiana Democrat Party from 2009 until a coup of sorts led to his ouster in favor of Sen, Karen Carter Peterson earlier this year; someone so prominent in the opposition party on the LSU board at a time when the university’s reorganization is fast approaching was always a long shot.

Meanwhile, in other LSU system news the board this week took the steps of appointing a search committee headed by board member Blake Chatelain of Alexandria and hiring a search firm (AGB Search, out of Washington, DC) in order to begin looking for a replacement for former system president John Lombardi. It’s widely suspected that Lombardi’s replacement will also be a replacement for LSU chancellor Michael Martin, as the reorganization of the LSU system into something centered more around the main Baton Rouge campus will be a major project over the next year or two.

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