Monday, January 4, 2016

Phil gets new help

Governor Phil Bryant issued the following press release:

Governor Bryant Announces Senior Staff Change
Joey Songy to Succeed Lucien Smith as Chief of Staff

JACKSON, Miss. – Gov. Phil Bryant today designated Joey Songy to serve as his second-term chief of staff. Songy succeeds Lucien Smith, who has served as Gov. Bryant’s chief of staff since 2013 and today announced his intention to return to the private practice of law at the end of the first term.

“Lucien has been an invaluable part of my administration, and though his departure is a great loss, I am grateful for his service,” Gov. Bryant said. “His dedication to his home state has been evident as he worked faithfully every day and many nights to improve Mississippi. I know he will achieve total success in his next endeavor. He has earned it.”

Songy
 “Helping lead Gov. Bryant’s team for the last four years has been an extraordinary honor,” Smith said. “The governor’s leadership on education reform and his relentless dedication to economic development have made Mississippi a better place. I’m confident the team we have put in place for the second term will continue to serve the governor and the state well, and I will look forward to continuing to assist and advise from the private sector.”

Smith joined Gov. Bryant’s staff as deputy chief of staff and policy director during the transition in December 2011. He was appointed chief of staff in December 2013 and is coordinating the transition to Gov. Bryant’s second term. Previously, he was legal counsel and budget adviser to former Gov. Haley Barbour and served as a law clerk to Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Smith and his wife, Bethany, live in Jackson and are expecting their first child in March.

Songy will succeed Smith as chief of staff on Jan. 13, the day after Gov. Bryant is sworn in for a second term. Songy has held the positions of policy adviser, counsel, and most recently, policy director in Gov. Bryant’s administration. While policy adviser, his portfolio included economic development, public finance, revenue, workforce and technology. Prior to joining Gov. Bryant’s administration, Songy practiced law in the private sector.

“Joey’s grasp of complex issues and tireless work ethic make him a natural successor to Lucien as my next chief of staff,” Gov. Bryant said. “He has proven himself an able and honorable public servant, and I’m delighted that someone of his ability will continue to serve the people of Mississippi.”

“This opportunity to help lead the remarkable team Gov. Bryant has selected for his second term is truly humbling,” Songy said. “I am honored to serve the people of Mississippi in this role.”

Songy is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration. He earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi. He and his wife, Kate, live in Jackson and they have one child, Joseph.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joey is Katie's buddy from Southern and Ole Miss law.

Anonymous said...

His resume includes being friends with Katie Bryant. That is all.

Anonymous said...

4:12-you're prob on to something. They both went to USM 02-07 & graduated Ole Miss Law '10. Does Feelll hire anyone over the age of 30? Guess he needs youngsters around to help him issue his Deborah and I statements. He needs all the help he can get. Don't know the kid, but he's got his work cut out.

Anonymous said...

4:29, I wasn't speculating. I was stating a fact based off first-hand knowledge.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. A small town lawyer whos qualifications is being friends with the Governors daughter was just named his chief of staff? Wow Feeeeell just listening to Frontier again.

Anonymous said...

He's an attorney? And he made the educated choice to work for Phil Bryant? Remind me to not use him when he's forced into private practice in four years.

Anonymous said...

Not a good sign if it takes you more than four years to graduate from USM. Jeez.

Anonymous said...

4:12 is correct. Joey was Katie's BFF in law school at Ole Missl. I attended while they were there. Neither did very well in school or had impressive resumes from an academic standpoint. Both pleasant but definite cronyism goin on here.

Anonymous said...

Folks...do not be alarmed. He will not actually do any "legal" work.

He will be presented with an issue....and then he will call Butler Snow and hire them to do the actual work.

Do you see any patterns here?

Anonymous said...

of course its cronyism. if he was a top law student he would not consider this job.

Anonymous said...

Ha. Was Charles Porter not available?

Anonymous said...

Not that you couldn't figure this out yourself, but ... The conventional wisdom of the under-40 professional set in Mississippi is that the quickest path to success for mediocre-but-loyal people is to work for Phil (or be related to him). See, for example, Josh Gregory, Spongebob, Katie, etc. Lucien's a little better --he comes from money and did go to Harvard-- but not exactly setting the world on fire in terms of brains, either.

I know this will come as a shock, but Phil is not very smart. And he doesn't like being around people who seem more authoritative than him. Obviously, that's gonna be a lot of people. So his options are basically, either hire incompetent people in their 40's and 50's, or hire 27-year-old yes men. So he hires the young yes men, partly because he sees them as his chance to build this empire that will last after he's gone.

And he REALLY enjoys this part of the job. Like, Haley's hobby was pulling strings in D.C. Phil's hobby is building an army of 35-year-olds who owe him everything they have.

Anonymous said...

5:49 - I forgot OM and MSU were academic powerhouses. Same admission standards as USM. Go to hell.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too hard on this crowd. After being blownout in the Rose Bowl the USM alum are in no mood for negative thoughts!

Anonymous said...

It is truly strange to me that the folks who post all the negative comments about Governor Bryant are to dumb to understand that the people of Mississippi elected him by a landslide. Oh well, I guess it's true, You can't educate dumbocrats they are simply too dumb to understand much of anything.

Anonymous said...

I also went to law school with them. There was an old saying while we were there: A students become law professors; B students become judges; and C students who never go to class but hang out with the governors daughter become chief of staff.

Anonymous said...

Anybody with a brain within 10 miles of the Guv's office knew this was coming. He is as unimpressive as anyone you've ever met.
The problem is, possibly the best candidate for the job is Stephen Snell, Katie's husband and Charles Porter's partner for their lobbying consulting group. However that would just be TOO blatant of nepotism, even for MS standards.
So, what do they do??? They go with Katie's best pal from law school and someone who even Lucien leaves in the dust as far as personality goes...and that's saying something. He will never make 1 decision or affect this state in a positive way at all. He's a complete "yes" man that is no leader and is no one you want to have your back with regards to the legislature or in general for that mater. He is in a word, spineless
Turrible. turrible choice, but with an 80%+ approval rating, Deputy Phil can make whatever TURRIBLE choices he wants. As the Dubya said, "I've earned political capital and now I intend on using it."
Let's hope it turns out better for Phil his second term than the Dubya's did.

Anonymous said...

Most of yall on here kill me, just kill me. Look, most of you are staunch Republicans, so why always trashing everybody on your side in Mississippi? These are the people your party promoted, funded, and you voted for, probably gave them money and put their signs in your yards. You elected a former deputy sheriff to be your governor. Now, you wish to trash his selections for his staff? What, do you think anybody with a great resume for the job(s) would come, perhaps, from outside of here to take the job? Most of these folks are just like y'all, never have known anything other than a life stuck here in Mississippi, thinking all of America must be just like this place.On the one hand you cheer the demise of Democrats, hate on all that it stands for, vote against all Dems regardless of quality or qualifications. Then, when your so called "conservative" heroes get elected, like Governor Bryant for example, you start poo-pooing everything about them, their intelligence, their job applicant choices, whatever. Move to another state for God's sake.

Anonymous said...

Where did the rest of Feels staff go? That education advisor is smart, why not her?

Anonymous said...

7:36: The people here elected Bryant in a landslide because he promotes the redneck culture (muh heritage and being against the Syrian refugee thing). He's just a Bubba that gives the average MS resident a hard on.

Anonymous said...

Faith, Family, and Friends. That was Feel's campaign message. He's takin' care of his family and friends. He's just like Kennuh Stokes, he is delivering to his constituents just as he promised. In the end, what's the difference?

Anonymous said...

Never ceases to amaze me that all of the stone throwers on here think they know so much. Lucien Smith is a top notch lawyer and will continue to serve the state well. Joey Songy is a hardworking, intelligent, capable person who has worked his way to this position. He hasn't been handed anything. Phil Bryant's staff is full of intelligent people, as are the staffs of the other officials y'all like to bash. Why don't some of you try working in that capacity? Not up for it? Too butt hurt most likely...

Anonymous said...

Lucien Smith holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a law degree from University of Virginia. He was a law clerk for Judge Rhesa Barksdale (of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals) and an attorney for Balch and Bingham. There are a lot of things that may be argued on this post but Lucien's intelligence and capability as an attorney is not one of them. All four achievements are extremely difficult to attain.

Anonymous said...

"Songy practiced law in the private sector."

That it? That is all that is said about his qualifications to advise our commander in chief?

Anonymous said...

As 10:08 wrote, Lucien has no business being lumped in with these others. MS has been lucky to have him. We have had few others as intelligent and educated serve our state the past 40 years - and with common sense.

Anonymous said...

He should have given it to Drew Snyder. Hes the smartest one left up there.

noel said...

If lawyers come into Mississippi from other states trying to catch political appointments, we need to get the Republican leaders to come together and throw rocks, bricks and bottles at them.

Anonymous said...

Drew Snyder is so much more qualified than this guy. He was President of the student body at Ole Miss and graduated from UVA law, not to mention he practiced at a big firm in DC before coming back to MS. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Gov Bryant is lucky to have Drew on his staff. Phil is clueless as to what is happening in this state when it comes to keeping our best and brightest in MS. "Brain Drain" is killing our future.....unless you want to work at Nissan or Toyota screwing in light bulbs.
Would love to see Drew run for something like AG or Sec of State if
those positions become available in the future.

Anonymous said...

Drew should run for AG or Sec of State if those jobs become available.
He's young, smart, and knows a ton of people. Bryant is lucky to have him on staff.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Drew has been feeding the thread this morning. Hey Drew!

Anonymous said...

Drew has been caught more than once leaking information out if the Governor's office that shouldn't have been shared. This should teach him about the importance of loyalty.

Anonymous said...

Trash Phil if you want - he ran for the job and got it. But find it impossible to trash his staff appointments. Lucien Smith is one of the brightest lawyers to come back to our state. 10:08's comments are right on target - only thing is they fail to list all of his accomplishments and qualifications, just hit on the big points. He served admirably in a thankless job and was well qualified for the position. After these years in the public sector, I wish him well as he leaves to go to work in the private side.

And nothing wrong with young minds in the governor's office - frankly I'm glad to see them there. Yes it is a good training ground, and as 'policy staff' that's what you want and need.

I'd take Lucien ten times over the 'old hat' politician that served Barbour by playing golf with all his legislative day buddies. Charlie didn't do crap to help his boss - just drew the big check. And he was in his 60's not his 30's. Please tell me why age is a better qualifier for these positions.

We Know Who You Are And What You Did said...

What possible difference does it make to any of you numb-nuts who the governor's employee is? He's entitled to select the person he wants. It's not like you have skin in the game. You Ricky Cole trolls need to find something to do.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:35 So has Josh Gregory and he is still making millions off of Phil. Songy is a joke. No one likes him, no personality, no substance, not smart, just oddly skinny for a guy. Maybe that is Phil's type?

Anonymous said...

4:40 - Well, no, considering the guy he is replacing is far from "oddly skinny".

Anonymous said...

Bryant's staff has changed. Several departures and several new faces.

Anonymous said...

@6:31 who else left? People get fired?

Anonymous said...

Y'all got this all wrong Gregory is not the one milking Phil anymore, it's Porter.

Searching For The Colonel said...

"....president of the student body at Ole Miss." lol

Thad Cochran was a cheerleader at Ole Miss and Dickie Scruggs used to be a celebrated alum and athletic supporter. William Winter calls Ole Miss home and Sheppard Smith 'attended'.

Next?

Anonymous said...

10:58...I'm missing something. Porter? Who is that?

Anonymous said...

Porter? George Porter Jr.?

Anonymous said...

Charles Porter. Mississippi's most up and coming lobbyist. Gets clients just because of his good looks and great intelligence. At least he is not running his business out of the Gov's office. Guess its harder to do that than it was to run out of his office when his "only office" was on the third floor of the Capitol.

Kingfish said...

Yes a "consultant" who rarely registers what he is usually doing: lobbying. Nice try.

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