Update: The committee nominated Tyrone Ben, a human-resources manager. Read the live blog below to see the discussion.
The next chapter in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to gain control of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East and its lawsuit against oil and gas companies for wetlands damage takes place Thursday, when a nominating committee meets to select an additional name for the board.
The public meeting is scheduled to start at noon; I’ll live-blog it here.
The governor opposes the lawsuit, which was filed by a unanimous vote of the board last July. Before the committee met in October to forward nominations to the governor for four open seats, Jindal let it be known that he wouldn’t appoint anyone who supported the suit.
That move gained the governor three seats, but the fourth, which is reserved for a resident of St. Bernard Parish, remains in question. The committee sent two nominees to the governor as required by law, but one, retired judge Richard Gorbaty, subsequently took a job that disqualified him. The second nominee was Tim Doody, the sitting board president and a supporter of the suit.
In January, the Jindal administration asked the committee to send two more applicants, claiming Doody was ineligible because the law firm he manages might represent some of the oil companies in the suit. But the state Ethics Board had cleared Doody of any conflicts.
When the committee — composed largely of professionals and academics involved in engineering — met last month, it asserted its political independence, passing a motion stating it wasn’t obligated to send new nominees to the governor if he rejected a qualified applicants.
So when it meets Thursday, the committee is expected to resubmit Doody’s name and select one other person to fill the legal requirement for two nominees.
The committee will have five applicants to choose from:
Tyrone Ben, a human resources manager
Michael Ginart Jr., a lawyer
Chad Lauga, an electrical worker
David Maag, an information technology specialist
Joseph Oster Jr, a retired paralegal
The committee also received an application from Sean Doody, an insurance agent who is the brother of Tim Doody. However, Tim Doody said Wednesday that application will be withdrawn.
“The only reason Sean put it in was because, at the time, we thought I might be disqualified, and we wanted to be sure there would be an applicant from St. Bernard Parish,” he said. “Since neither one of those conditions exist any longer, he will withdraw.”
Board members serve without pay.