Ann Silverberg Williamson, Louisiana’s Secretary of Social Services has “resigned”, as they say, to pursue other ventures.
From the Baton Rouge Advocate:Social Services Chief Resigns
Ladies and gentlemen, a new wind is blowing in Louisiana, and it ain’t a tropical storm.
Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday he had a difficult time getting accurate, objective information on a day-to-day basis from the department during the hurricane response.
He refused to say whether he demanded Williamson’s resignation.
But the governor outlined the reasons for her downfall as a failure to predict the problems that arose and missteps in telling his administration what was unfolding with shelter and food stamp distribution plans.
“She offered her resignation. We accepted it,” Jindal said. “We both agreed that this was the right time to make a change.”
Williamson, a cabinet-level appointee, was a holdover from the Blanco administration.
At DSS, Williamson was in charge of more than 5,000 employees. The agency is tasked with handling food stamps, child welfare and other social services.
The problems with the [Hurricane Gustav evacuation] shelters and the disaster food stamp program are the most visible breakdowns to emerge so far in the Jindal administration’s handling of the hurricane.
For three days, shelters in Bastrop, Monroe and Shreveport lacked showers and other inadequacies, evacuees say.
Williamson said it took longer than she expected for a contractor, OK’s Cascade, to deliver showers to the shelters.
A state contract requires OK’s Cascade to have a shelter ready for occupancy within 72 to 96 hours of notification by the state. The contractor is responsible for providing bedding, linens, kitchens, showers, laundries, restrooms, drinking water and lights.
OK’s Cascade said DSS ordered the showers on Sept. 1, the day Gustav made landfall in Terrebonne Parish. That was two days after the state began evacuating the city of New Orleans and several days after the Jindal administration started activating other hurricane contracts.
The distribution of disaster food stamps was marred by long lines in the sun as DSS scrambled to train workers to process applications. DSS changed some of the locations with little notice, resulting in people lining up at the wrong location.
“I said before that there will be consequences. There will be significant changes made at the department,” [Jindal] said last week.
A Louisiana governor demanding accountability?! Why, it just isn’t done!
Cross-posted at The Minority Report