ATLANTA -- Louisiana Governor-elect Edwin Edwards on Monday named longtime state Rep. Raymond Laborde to serve as the state's top fiscal manager.
Rep. Laborde, who will take over as commissioner of administration when Mr. Edwards is sworn in on Jan. 13, succeeds Dennis Stine, who was appointed by departing Gov. Buddy Roemer. Rep. Laborde, elected a Democratic representative from Marksville in 1972, was House floor leader for Gov. Roemer since 1988 and for Mr. Edwards during the former goveror's three previous terms between 1972 and 1988. Rep. Laborde also is a member of the State Bond Commission.
As commissioner of administration, Rep. Laborde will have responsibility for formulating Louisiana's budget and overseeing the day-to-day operations of state government. He also will continue to serve on the bond commission.
"From the financial community's perspective, I can't think of a better choice," Jim Tucker, manager of research at Howard, Weil, Labouisse, Friedrichs Inc. in New Orleans, said yesterday. "He has traveled to New York and become familiar with members of the bond industry, and he has a thorough understanding of the budget appropriation process and the capital needs of the state. He will not miss a step."
Mr. Edwards's chief fiscal officer will face some tough challenges once the new administration is sworn in. Rep. Laborde must put together a budget for fiscal 1993, which begins July 1, that addresses an expected revenue shortfall of up to $1 billion. He will also have to deal with a deficit in the current fiscal year that is now estimated at about $60 million.
Separately, Mr. Edwards named Kevin Reilly, a Republican, to the post of secretary of the Department of Economic Development, which oversees business development for the administration.
Mr. Reilly also was a Democratic leader in Louisiana's House of representatives, where he served between 1972 and 1988 and, for the last 12 of those years, was chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Mr. Reilly, who was defeated by Mary Landrieu in the 1987 race for state Treasurer, became a Republican after leaving the Legislature. He has been chairman of the board of the Lamar Corp., a commercial real estate and advertising firm, since 1969.
In addition, the newly elected governor named Gayle Truly to be secretary of the Department of Employment and Training, which changed its name from Department of Labor during Gov. Roemer's administraton. Mr. Truly, who is currently the legislative liaison officer for the Department of elections and Registration, was head of the Department of Labor under Mr. Edwards in 1987 and 1988.