An article by Emily Wagster Pettus details the battle lines being drawn over a new front in the war over PERS, with Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) and Gov. Haley Barbour (R) digging in to prevent an inquiry into the motives of the PERS Study Commission. Rep. George Flaggs (D-Vicksburg) is wanting Gulfport Mayor George Schloegel (R) to appear before the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to answer questions about the funding, objectives, and intentions of the PERS Study Commission. Schloegel is the chairman of the PERS Study Commission, and like all members of the Commission, was appointed by Gov. Barbour.
Last week, Bryant, who chairs the Joint Legislative Budget Committee as Lt. Gov., rejected Rep. Flaggs' request to have Schloegel appear before the Committee. Bryant, who is running for Governor, said that he spoke to Gov. Barbour, who told him that Schloegel should not appear before the Committee because he "is not a state employee, the Commission is not a state agency, state funds are not being used to pay for the activities of the Commission and the Commission’s report will only be recommendations."
That's interesting to me, since People who aren't state employees, don't run state agencies, don't get state funds to operate, and only give recommendations are called before legislative committees all the time. For his part, Rep. Flaggs has said that he will subpoena Schloegel to the Committee. Prepare now for great wailing and gnashing of teeth from Republicans over Flaggs' ability to do so. This is nothing but a smoke screen and a delay tactic by Barbour and Bryant, who are trying to simultaneously shift control of PERS to private hands, all while keeping the public from knowing what they're doing until, oh, say November 9, 2011.