Shadow Mayor Retiring Wednesday, Dec 24 2008 

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EBR Parish’s Chief Administrative Officer, Walter Monsour, has announced his retirement from the top position in the Mayor’s Office.  Monsour is referred to as the Shadow Mayor because of the power he yields coupled with the fact that he is the actual decision maker for EBR Parish.

Now that Monsour is retiring, it will be interesting to watch future developments in the parish.  As the spokesperson at Metro Council meetings, the author of the city parish budget, and the speerheader of both the infamous loop and failed bond issue, Monsour leaves Mayor-President Kip Holden alone to figure things out.

Mayor Holden has been the face of the Mayor’s Office, but Monsour has been the brains and driving force behind the scenes.  Without Monsour, Holden will now be forced to go back to the business of the people instead of dancing around town in nightclubs and festivals.  Perhaps this will mean a major cut in the city-parish budget for his security detail?  Making appearances, shaking hands and motivational speeches is Holden’s forte, not planning and implementation of strategic plans.

Holden will most likely move one of his staff members into the Chief Administrative Officer position like Mike Futrell, who came aboard in an effort to thwart his running against the Mayor last fall.  As a legislator, Futrell was liked, but did not effect enough changes to show any savvy as a CAO. 

Another candidate that lost his chance at being CAO is former employee Alfred Williams who served as Holden’s campaign manager.  Williams is not popular, but does specialize in hauling (uh, driving) voters to the polls in an effort to to turn out the minority vote.  He was moved out of the Mayor’s office after a not-so-well-known controversy involving the casino vote where the Mayor played both sides of the fence and got caught.  As an loyal friend to Holden, Williams took the hit.  No need to feel sorry for him though as he has stockpiled large sums of money from democratic campaigns with his ‘non-profit’ organization employing family members and confidantes.

If Futrell takes the reigns of Chief Administrative Officer, what happens to Holden’s raise-our-tax-plan?  Futrell warned citizens in Holden’s first run for Mayor-President that the parish would suffer increases in taxes.  In politics, your words often come back to haunt you.  Will Futrell now support higher taxes?  Perhaps Futrell can convince Holden to repeat history and cut the city parish budget as he did to fund the tax pay increase for police officers? 

Whatever Holden’s decision, the facts remain that the taxpayers of EBR Parish are not interested in increasing taxes or funding bond issues that develop one part of our parish – downtown.  As far as bridges, synchronizing lights, traffic and crime, the citizens of our parish deserve these services to be provided without tax increases.

How can this be accomplished?  T-R-I-M  T-H-E  F-A-T!

Who can do this job effectively and to the pleasure of the citizens of our parish?  Will Holden return to the office of Mayor to be about the business of the people?  Let’s hope Monsour’s retirement brings positive changes in city government and in our leadership.  If we are to be America’s next greatest city, we need hands-on management by the man elected, not a Shadow Mayor.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

My Christmas Gifts to EBRP Leadership Sunday, Dec 21 2008 

christmas-giftsMerry Christmas

Christmas is a time set aside for family, celebrating the birth of Christ, and gift giving.  While visions of sugarplums seem to have danced in the heads of our leadership over the past 12 months, I would offer more substantial holiday gifts for 2009 to our leaders including the gifts of wisdom, insight, and sound judgement.  

Sometimes the best gifts come in forms we least expect:

  • Due Diligence – the care a reasonable person should take before entering into agreements and transactions

Mayor-President Kip Holden and some community leaders were pushing EBRP voters to buy-in to the largest bond issue in the history of our parish in the fall election.  Meanwhile, the largest financial crisis in our economy since the Great Depression was quickly chasing us like a thief in the night.  Had our leadership done a proper Due Diligence perhaps they would have had insight as to the looming failure of  any taxpayer choosing to take on more debt in times that require cutting back, not increased spending.   May our leaders pursue the critical research before embarking on ventures in EBR Parish in 2009.

  • Sages – profound philosophers with wisdom and sound judgement

If our leaders need anything, it is wisdom and sound judgement.  This can be easily obtained from sages that research and have the insight to foresee the past, present and future.  In an economy that is requiring that every family tighten their belts, why should city government be any different?  Governor Bobby Jindal just announced a statewide shortfall along with potential cutbacks.  Perhaps if EBRP leaders would tune in to sages that are more realistic, they would understand that downtown is only one part of our great parish.  While focusing on downtown hotels, parking lots and long-shot attractions, the citizens are crying out for tighter reins on tax dollars, not excessive spending.  If leaders had listened to some of the sages, they would have removed these components and passed a bond issue addressing the true needs, not perks of the parish.  May our leaders search for all the sages of our parish to provide insight and planning that will change the entire parish for 2009.

  • Principle of the ‘Wii’ – Nintendo’s genius creation that targets a broader audience than any other similar system.

EBRP leaders often have tunnel vision.  A lesson is to be taken from Nintendo via their incredible product that has taken consumers by storm.  Wii detects movement in three dimensions and focuses on a new form of player interaction.  Bingo!  Interaction of all the key players is a component that city parish government desperately needs to consider.  When you only include the top layer in decision making you are destined for tragic outcomes.  It is imperative that all players interact and become key components of any costly project under consideration.  If our leaders would take this gift and implement these principles, they would find more support on all levels.  May we mirror the success of reaching a broader audience with hands-on interaction by all citizens of EBR Parish for 2009.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican