The Jindal administration on Thursday announced it has canceled a controversial contract that has come under scrutiny by a federal grand jury.Still the administration is not yet ready to say goodbye to Bruce.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols issued a prepared statement announcing the decision affecting a $185 million-plus contract to process Medicaid claims with CNSI, a firm with ties to state health Secretary Bruce Greenstein.
Greenstein’s office directed media inquiries to Nichols’ office.
Gov. Bobby Jindal declined a request to be interviewed on Greenstein’s job status. Jindal’s office released a prepared statement from Paul Rainwater, the governor’s chief of staff, that said: “We have confidence in Bruce.”
The development occurred just hours after news broke that a federal grand jury was investigating the administration’s award of the contract.
The company got the contract for Medicaid claims processing in 2011 amid some complaints that the firm “low balled” the price and made erroneous assumptions in its proposal.Nothing to see here. Move along.
The CNSI contract has been amended once since it was signed, increasing its $185 million cost by about $9 million. A second contract amendment proposed by DHH that would have added another $40 million was sidelined recently by the state Division of Administration.Oops!
The Jindal administration functioned for years with virtually no checks and balances. Jindal and his closed circle of advisers operated in secrecy; the legislature went along with Jindal's proposals with little scrutiny; and Jindal brooked no dissent from the administrators of the various agencies. Dissent publicly, and you're out.
The local press is given little access to the governor and his inner circle, but Jindal rarely refuses a request by national media for interviews and appearances. Since the local press know more about what's happening in the state, they might ask hard questions, but the national media view Jindal as the new face of the Republican Party, possibly even presidential material, and the governor is eager to encourage the impression.