Civil Service Approves 47 Unclassified Recovery Jobs

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ State government's employment agency has approved the Blanco administration request for 47 new hurricane recovery jobs -- all of them subject to political hiring and firing.

But the State Civil Service Commission said it wants to review the jobs after two years to see if some should be moved to civil-service status. That would require competition for the jobs, set specific pay scales and provide strong job security.

Commissioner of Administration Jerry Luke LeBlanc told commissioners yesterday that the positions are needed to ``round out'' the team responsible for managing $11 billion or more in federal aid to recover from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In February, the commission approved 27 other non-civil service jobs as it approved creation of the state's Disaster Recovery Unit.

Suzie Elkins, director of the state office of community development, says the unit has at least 21 hurricane recovery programs to oversee -- including the Road Home housing program and the bridge loan program aimed at business development and needs more staff.

Elkins says the 47 positions will be filled as needs arise. No salaries were attached to the positions sought.

She said the recovery unit needs sufficient staff to closely monitor and account for the federal funds.