Robottom now has plate overflowing in new job for Governor Bobby Jindal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – Former St. John Chief Administrative Officer Natalie Robottom left her role in parish government as someone with a reputation for handling many challenges at once.

So when she accepted a position as Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Programs, for newly-elected Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, it figured she would be well prepared for the job.

Looking at the long list of responsibilities Robottom now faces, it appears to be a good thing she had such good training.

Robottom visited with the LaPlace Rotary Club, returning to give an update on Jindal’s first four months in office, and also a little insight into her new job.

Robottom was defeated last November in her run for St. John parish president, but the well-respected St. John C.A.O. didn’t have to wait long for offers to come in, seeking her services.

After she passed on one parish chief administrative officer job in another parish, she accepted a similar position for Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet, but only worked there for two weeks before Jindal’s office came calling.

Now she is responsible for an amazing list of areas Jindal has put her in charge of, but something that doesn’t seem to overwhelm her.

“Quite honestly, the transition to this job was amazingly easy,” she said. “I believe it was because I had such good administrative experience working in St. John Parish that I was ready for something like this.”

For that matter, Robottom has quickly become one of the more experienced leaders in Jindal’s administrative staff, since she said the new governor has brought in a lot of very youthful talent to run the state.

“When I came in here I kind of felt like the grandma, since the average age of Jindal’s staff is just 33,” said Robottom, who has two college age children.

The programs that she is overseeing are The Children’s Cabinet, Delta Regional Authority, Disability Affairs, Drug Policy Board, Environmental Education, Governor’s Program on Abstinence, Indian Affairs, Elderly Affairs, Non-public School Early Childhood Development, Oil Spills, Renewal Communities, Safe and Drug Free Schools, Statewide Interagency Coordinator Council for Early Steps, and Statewide Independent Living Council.

“Governor Jindal wants Louisiana to offer many new opportunities, and that is why he is very goal oriented, and why I have many areas to work in,” Robottom explained. “He has set the bar very high for Louisiana, and as a department head, I am expected to reach those goals just like everyone else.”

Robottom said that Jindal’s top priorities are to have 21st Century quality schools, curriculum to education programs, quality teachers, build a strong business climate, update health care systems, education reform, and provide an overall safe quality of life for all.

“It was unusual for him to call two special sessions so quickly in his term, but that shows how intent he is on making things change for the better,” Robottom remarked.

Jindal got the Louisiana Legislature to pass sweeping legislation that has now given Louisiana what experts are calling the number one ranking in ethics standards in the United States.

“Governor Jindal said in his campaigning that ethics would be a top priority and he proved that he meant it,” she said. “I just feel honored to be a part of the team to work with him.”

Robottom said that she has seldom actually worked directly with Jindal, but rather has staff meetings with Jindal’s top aides. She works on the sixth floor of the Capitol, with the governor working on the fourth to sixth floors.

She still commutes to work from LaPlace and seemed enthused about her position and the challenges she can tackle.

“I thought that keeping up with Nickie (Monica, former parish president) was a challenge, but the way Governor Jindal works is a whole new challenge for me,” she said. “But it is refreshing to work with so many young minds and it’s an exciting time to be in Baton Rouge doing this work.”