Louisiana fisheries secretary says governor forcing him out
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's wildlife and fisheries secretary says he's being forced out of his Cabinet position by Gov. John Bel Edwards, months into the secretary's work to correct widespread financial problems identified by auditors.
Charlie Melancon, leader of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said Friday he was asked by Edwards' chief of staff Ben Nevers to leave the office in mid-February. Melancon says he wasn't given a reason for his forced exit.
Melancon has clashed with recreational fishermen, and drawn criticism for agency changes he's pushed after auditors found shoddy management of agency finances under his predecessor in the previous governor's administration.
Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said needed agency reform "took a backseat to unnecessary public battles from the secretary," so Edwards decided to "move the agency in a different direction."