Scratching my head in confusion as to why the Times-Picayune placed an editorial about the Mandeville City Council, patting them on the back, today. Is this a little T-P guilt band-aid for all Cindy Chang’s scathing headlines? Something stinks here as it does with my city’s local government. If the City Council had the best interest of the “Citizens of Mandeville” and really wanted to make amends, they would have insisted every penny “borrowed” (sarcasm) interest free would have been paid back – with interest – immediately! They would have also insisted on the Mayor resigning. Now the citizens of Mandeville have to go through all the work to get a recall of the Mayor.

Remember the philosophy for punishing children? We should punish them right away so they remember why they are getting punished! These are grown people and they still don’t get it. They have lost their moral compass! I am sorry to say, but the entire City Council, as a whole (newbies aren’t getting passes from me anymore either, unless they start speaking up), are a huge disappointment to me. They DO NOT have the best interest of the citizens who elected them!!!

There aren’t and shouldn’t be “2” sets of rules in the world; 1. rules for the elected officials & 2. rules for John & Jane Q Taxpayer. The attitude of, “Screw you taxpayers who elected us. We work hard at our job 24-7 and you should trust us to do whatever the heck we want,” isn’t working for me. Trust me, there are people out there who are willing to represent and serve us like we should expect them to!

This from today’s Times- Picayune
EDITORIAL: Mandeville’s new measures
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

T-P: The days when Mandeville officials could hop in a city-owned vehicle, fill up the tank on a city Fuelman card and drive out of town for a little R&R are ending, and that’s a needed reform for the troubled city government.

Me: This is just one of MANY problems and if you ask me, if wasn’t addressed immediately after the audit’s release like it should have been!!! Too late.

T-P: The Mandeville City Council, which has been responding to a blistering state audit, will vote at its next meeting on written guidelines for business travel that track those followed by state employees. The guidelines limit reimbursements to trips that have a “public purpose.”

Me: They had the audit before the public even saw it. Plenty of time has passed. Interest free loans were given by the taxpayer to all who chose to “borrow” money from the taxpayers.

T-P: That certainly needed to happen. The abuses noted by the Legislative Auditor’s report included personal trips taken by city officials, including Mayor Eddie Price, in city vehicles with fuel paid for by the city.

Mayor Price drove his city vehicle to Augusta, Ga., to watch the Master’s golf tournament in April 2006. He told auditors that he did so because he is on call 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Other Mandeville employees were allowed to take personal trips in their city vehicles in case they had to return early on city business.

Me: It is the attitude of Mayor Price about his 24-7 job that really “gets my goat.” He made his own rules of convenience and has and continues to laugh at the taxpayers of Mandeville like we are a bunch of stupid morons.

T-P: But watching a golf tournament isn’t a public purpose. Neither is taking eight trips to Destin, Fla., as Louisette Kidd, director of planning, did. City Attorney David Cressy and David Degeneres, director of public works, also told auditors they used city vehicles for personal trips.

The proposed guidelines would allow city vehicles to be used for out-of-state trips if the city finance director gives permission. But giving such discretion to a member of the administration doesn’t seem like the best check on possible abuses.

Me: Trilby Lenfant should have asked for their vehicles to have been turned in immediately and for the money to be reimbursed that day – PERIOD – NO EXCEPTIONS!!

T-P: Finance Director Milton Stiebing oversaw many of the areas that drew criticism in the audit. He and Mayor Price together were responsible for more than $55,000 in inadequately documented food and alcohol charges on city credit cards.

Me: Milton and the Mayor need to go.

T-P: The Mandeville City Council, to its credit, is trying to tighten up policies. It voted to adopt a written policy on credit card use that requires employees to provide documentation in order to be reimbursed. The City Council also will vote on an ordinance at its next meeting that would require an annual internal audit.

Me: Woulda, coulda, shoulda…irresponsible – bottom line!

T-P: Those are appropriate measures, and it’s encouraging to see the City Council taking concrete steps to end the abuses that have occurred under Mayor Price’s administration

Me: This is a bunch of apologetic BS from the T-P. I’m not buying it and I hope nobody in Mandeville is buying it either.

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