Posted: Mar 19, 2014 10:10 PM by Ryan Naquin
Updated: Mar 20, 2014 6:50 AM
BATON ROUGE - Workers at the USS Kidd are fighting for their jobs after a paperwork issue with the state means they had to reapply for them.
Full-time employees were hired as unclassified workers, similar to high level staffers appointed into state positions. But, according to the State Civil Service Commission, those workers should have been classified workers and part of the civil service workforce.
"We've always had sort of a blanket authority to have unclassified civil service, but as they said, their commission decided it is time to provide more oversight," USS Kidd Executive Director Alex Juan said.
The Civil Service Commission notified the Kidd of problems and four employees must reapply for their jobs. Juan has received hundreds of resumes for the open positions.
"There's been a little bit of momentum to really reevaluate the job duties and see where they really fall," Civil Service Commission Director Shannon Templet said.
At a meeting Wednesday night, Templet cleared up the problem with USS Kidd commissioners.
But some commissioners did not want the state telling them how to run their ship.
"Trust me, there's a lot more I don't understand," commissioner Dan Mobley said during the meeting. "I don't agree with this just so you know where I'm coming from."
Other commissioners want the issue corrected.
"The commission is more attentive, looking in, asking those hard questions and we're getting those hard answers," commissioner Larry Jones said. "Now, we have to take action."
The snafu comes off the heels of a pending state investigation and mounting debt.
Reimbursements made to the Kidd's former executive director, Maury Drummond, are being looked at by Inspector General. More than $38,000 are in question.
Also, the ship owes the state $334,000 in insurance premiums. The best plan discussed right now is to pay $8000 a month. At that rate, it would take the Kidd nearly three and a half years to pay the state back.
"It's not going to happen overnight and they are well aware of that and that's why I'm committed that we stand by our word," Juan said.
Also, since The Investigative Unit report, the Kidd is now mandating that two people sign checks of more than $2000. Along with that change, the commission chair and treasurer must check the ship's finances quarterly.