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May 9, 2011 11:51 AM by Sharlee Barriere

Alcohol Regulation Office Jobs Slated to Be Cut

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - State Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert is asking to eliminate six jobs at his agency, including one held by the son of a state senator.
Brant Thompson, the son of state Sen. Francis Thompson, would lose his $115,228-a-year job as deputy commissioner, under the reorganization plan Hebert submitted to state civil service officials. Thompson and two other workers would be offered lower-paying positions at the agency.
Hebert said the remaining three employees would be out of work, though two are eligible for retirement.
State civil service officials will consider the reorganization after a public comment period on the plan ends May 14. Hebert wants the layoffs and changes to take effect June 3.
Hebert said the changes are designed to improve operations at his office, which oversees the regulation of alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries and had a $400,000 shortfall last year. He said he also installed a time clock and stopped a practice of paying employees during their commute to work.
"You show up to work on time, and you start getting paid when you show up for work," Hebert said. "They're not taking it very good, I can assure you."
The office has 79 employees and a $6.7 million budget.
Thompson, D-Delhi, said he doubts his son is slated for demotion because of political motivations.
"My son is very, very qualified and very able. I don't know what they're doing over there," Thompson said.
Hebert, a former state senator with no political party affiliation, was appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal to the commissioner's job in November. He replaced Murphy Painter, who resigned amid allegations that he sexually harassed and stalked a woman.
Hebert said when he arrived on the job, some employees were arriving late to work, taking two-hour lunch breaks on the clock and driving state vehicles even though they have desk jobs.
"Obviously, there's a lot of room for improvement," Hebert said.

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