23 August 2010

UPDATED with the thompsons, it's a family affair


With the elevation of Brant Thompson to interim commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, the question becomes how many of State Sen. Francis C. Thompson’s family members will end up in high-ranking positions in Louisiana state government?

Brant Thompson, one of Francis Thompson’s two sons who are employed by state agencies, served for a number of years as ATC deputy commissioner. He was promoted to interim commissioner after his boss, Commissioner Murphy J. Painter, resigned last week. Thompson’s salary before his promotion was listed at $84,864 per year. Painter, meanwhile, is under investigation by state police and the state inspector general’s office.

Among other things, Painter is being investigated for hacking into personnel files of employees and strangers alike, of sexual harassment, discrimination, and stalking.

Thompson’s other son, Todd Thompson, works for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. Sen. Francis Thompson (D-Delhi) served for four years as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee before being term limited for his House seat and subsequently was elected to the Senate seat formerly held by similarly term-limited Charles Jones of Monroe. He now serves as chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development Committee.

Francis Thompson’s first cousin, J.S. “Bud” Thompson, is director of the Louisiana Office of Risk Management, which is being privatized over a five-year period. Bud Thompson’s wife recently retired from her position with the Louisiana Bond Commission.

An older brother, Clyde “Weasel” Thompson (as he was known when he coached P.E. at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston in the 60s and ’70s) served for a time as second in command to Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Paul Hardy during the administration of former Gov. Dave Treen and more recently has been serving as Executive Director of the Madison Port Commission at a salary of $49,207 even though he reportedly rarely leaves home and even more rarely shows up at his office.

Finally, the senator’s younger brother, Mike Thompson, was formerly mayor of Delhi and later served as director of the Poverty Point Reservoir District.

Controversy seems to follow members of the Thompson family in their capacities as public employees. Besides Brant, who received his promotion at ATC by default, his brother Todd was ticketed six years ago for driving while intoxicated in Baton Rouge after being involved in an auto accident at 10:15 p.m. on July 7, 2004 while driving a Department of Agriculture vehicle.

The Baton Rouge city police accident report said that while the accident was not the fault of Todd Thompson, he was nevertheless cited for DWI after refusing a field sobriety test at the scene of the accident. Todd Thompson, despite his driving while intoxicated in a state vehicle at 10:15 p.m., remained in his job.

Francis Thompson has been the subject of considerable controversy with his proposed ground water reservoir feasibility studies around the state, including Poverty Point in Richland Parish, as well as Washington Parish, Lincoln Parish, and others. Poverty Point received appropriations totaling more than $3.1 million in this year’s appropriations and capital outlay bills.

Bud Thompson was the catalyst in the privatization of the Office of Risk Management which was facilitated by what some employees felt was tweaking the evaluations of companies that bid on the contract so that an area private claims adjusting firm might win the contract. The outsourcing of the agency will either force employees into working for the private firm or taking early retirement. Those who move into the private sector will have their retirement seniority interrupted in some cases decades before employees are eligible for retirement though Bud Thompson, in his own words, will still have his job.

Mike Thompson was indicted and subsequently convicted in federal court for using Poverty Point Reservoir District employees to perform work on his private property. ~ source: louisiana voice via cns

related posts
  • louisiana reservoir of corruption
  • search this blog * reservoir

  • ====
    updated at 6:18 pm cdt tuesday 24 august 2010