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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LPR

OPINION: Time for reforms to insider boards controlling high-priced river pilot jobs

This letter to the editor originally ran in The Advocate and was written by State Representative Thomas Pressly (R-Shreveport). After considering his position on this issue, the LPR editorial board is happy to announce that we will be supporting Pressly in his effort to make common sense reforms in the river-boat industry.


Louisiana’s need to reform the “good ol' boy” system came to light again in news reports over political appointmentsbetween members of two politically connected families vying for a position on a powerful yet little-known board. The infighting arose over the governor’s appointment to the Board of Examiners of the New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots, the board that determines who gets a state commission, or license to pilot ships between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
The board also determines how and if new candidates get to join the limited ranks of this powerful monopoly that garners its members more than $500,000 a year and has been criticized by major job creators for excess charges to ratepayers — and eventually consumers — of tens of millions of dollars a year.
Louisiana’s need to reform the “good ol' boy” system came to light again in news reports over political appointmentsbetween members of two politically connected families vying for a position on a powerful yet little-known board. The infighting arose over the governor’s appointment to the Board of Examiners of the New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots, the board that determines who gets a state commission, or license to pilot ships between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
The board also determines how and if new candidates get to join the limited ranks of this powerful monopoly that garners its members more than $500,000 a year and has been criticized by major job creators for excess charges to ratepayers — and eventually consumers — of tens of millions of dollars a year.
The public fight between members of a monopoly trying to hold onto power highlights the business-as-usual nature in which pilotage has been regulated for too long. For those of us trying to best position the state to embrace its full potential, business-as-usual no longer works. By making real reforms to this important sector of our economy, we start the process of showing that the “good ole boy” days in Louisiana politics are over.
We can do better. It’s time for reform.
THOMAS PRESSLY
state representative
Shreveport

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