Times-Picayune Ran Editorial on Public Service Commissioner Controversy

Posted on April 16, 2008 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

NEW ORLEANS — Public Service Commissioner Jay Blossman says he sees nothing wrong with writing a letter to motor carriers asking them to meet with a friend of his who sells mobile technology.

He's suggested that the letters are being turned into an issue because of election-year politics. And, he says, if the law does prohibit the type of letter he wrote for Nicholas Larussa, "the law needs to be changed."

It takes chutzpah to blame the law when you're caught doing something as ethically questionable and offensive as what Mr. Blossman did. Despite his protests, there's plenty wrong with someone in Mr. Blossman's position seeking favors from businesses that his agency regulates. The fact that he did so on Public Service Commission stationery makes his actions all the more outrageous.

The Public Service Commission has a lot of power over motor carriers, which include tour bus and limousine companies, household movers, waste-haulers, and some tow-truck operations. The commission sets rules and levies fines, and when a letter arrives in a PSC envelope, it's going to get attention.

Mr. Blossman got the names of the motor carrier businesses in Mr. Larussa's sales district — 235 of them — from the Public Service Commission and had a staff member in his district office print the letters that Mr. Larussa then mailed.

The letters identify Mr. Larussa as a friend of the commissioner's who is selling a product that uses Global Positioning System technology to track vehicles. Mr. Blossman urges the companies to meet with the salesman and says that the technology "could be a great asset to your company."

Some of the business owners who received the letters were alarmed enough to report them to the Metropolitan Crime Commission. They saw the letters as an intimidation tactic by Mr. Blossman and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. Several companies contacted by The Times-Picayune said the same thing.

Mr. Larussa, a recent college graduate, works for Acadian Monitoring Services, a division of Acadian Ambulance. His sister baby-sits Mr. Blossman's children, and he also plays golf with the commissioner. But those connections should not entitle him to anything, much less what some companies perceived as a mandatory meeting. It's completely unacceptable that Mr. Blossman strong-armed business owners into listening to his buddy's sales pitch.

Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche has reported the matter to the state inspector general as a possible abuse of public office. He questioned the use of PSC personnel, records and materials for a private solicitation.

"Mr. Blossman's disregard for public resources and the office that he holds brings the integrity of the PSC into question and undermines Louisiana's recent efforts to rehabilitate our state's reputation for cronyism and 'good old boy' networking," Mr. Goyeneche wrote.

Cronyism and "good old boy" networking is exactly what Mr. Blossman did. It's up to State Inspector General Stephen Street Jr. to determine whether he may have broken the law. He should give the matter prompt attention and a thorough investigation.

Source: The Times-Picayune

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Arkansas Operation Recognized As Small Business of the Year

Pinnacle Car Services, Inc. recieved the accolade from the Greater Bentonville Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce.

How To Make Your Buses Comply With The Latest Rules

eNews Exclusive: Joe Guinn guides operators on the best ways to prepare for the large leap from sedans and SUVs to buses and motorcoaches.

What Is The Future Of The New Luxury Traveler?

There is a growing demand for more human connectedness and meaningful experiences for both adults and children.

DWIs Down In One City Since Uber Launched

Springfield, Mo., saw an average of 47 drunk driving arrests per month down from 55 per month in 2016.

Party Bus Entrepreneur On The Road To Growth

Operator with military experience launched her Mobile, Ala.-area business with a custom-built vehicle.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - May 2017 $12.95 Post International LCT Show Issue COVER STORY: * Best Operators of 2017: Their Winning Secrets Revealed * *
LCT Magazine - April 2017 $12.95 F&I / SPECIAL EVENTS ISSUE COVER STORY: * Don't Panic: Confronting Worst Fears - Fleet Risks * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close