By Robert Mann

Gov. Bobby Jindal plans to give a private management consulting firm — Alvarez & Marsal — $4 million in state funds to help find ways to save the state money.

Saving money sounds great, right? Who could be against that?  Of course, that presumes that Jindal and the Legislature would actually enact the suggestions the consultant makes.

Most likely, Jindal isn’t so much looking for cost-savings. If he really cared about that would he have waited until the beginning of his seventh year in office?

This is really about Jindal’s nascent presidential campaign. He has hired a consultant, with your state dollars, to produce him a host of campaign talking points.

If Jindal really wanted to save the state money, he wouldn’t be using taxpayer dollars to enhance his presidential campaign. Instead, he would do something completely out of character.  He’d consult the people who work for him.

You know, state workers — the people he has disparaged and disregarded for the past six years.

Here’s an idea, free of charge, that will instantly save Louisiana $4 million: cancel the contract and talk with the real experts on government waste.

Jindal wouldn’t know it, but the rank-and-file employees in each department of Louisiana government could tell him quite a bit about the ways their supervisors — his cabinet officers — waste our taxpayer dollars. They see it and stew about it every day.

Jindal should find a way to ask them. Where I come from we call them “suggestion boxes.”

I’m an amateur woodworker. For a couple of hundred dollars, I’ll build a few dozen boxes to spread around state offices.

Actually, that’s probably what Alvarez & Marsal is being paid to do — interview a bunch of state employees, repackage their suggestions, put them all in a very nice folder with colorful charts, and present it to Jindal — along with a bill for $4 million.

Perhaps some state workers might want to suggest some money-saving ideas to me. If you’ll send them (anonymously) to, I’ll be glad to re-post them here (free of charge). Or, just share you ideas in a comment to this post.