Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Nagin in the News…

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, normally a lower-profile mayor than we are used to, has been getting a lot of news coverage lately. Unfortunately for Nagin, he would have rathered flying below radar last week than in the positions he found himself.

In the long-running dispute over back pay between the Mayor and the fire fighters, Civil Court Judge Kern Reese ordered both parties back to the bargaining table. This action averted, for now, a $10 million-plus judgment against City Hall that could force widespread layoffs, including dozens of firefighters.

For his part, Nagin made a personal appeal via e-mail to individual firefighters, imploring them to buck their union leaders and strike a deal with his administration. Nagin said in the message that he would be forced to lay off as many as 1,000 city workers, including 180 to 200 firefighters.

The T-P had fun with the story of the rejected pay raises :

“Either Mayor Ray Nagin employs the most selfless executives this side of a monastery, or the mayor is auditioning for a future career as a comic. He has to be going for laughs to say he offered salary increases to each of the 10 people on his executive team and that each person separately -- and without prompting -- concluded that he or she already makes enough money.

The more likely story is that the mayor or one of his top aides asked his staff to relinquish the extra money after The Times-Picayune got a tip that he had awarded the raises in secret. The explanation his press secretary presented -- that each of the executives turned down extra money like so many plates of Brussels sprouts -- just isn't to be believed.”

Nagin’s other time on the front page probably showed more about the inflated self-importance of the City Council than any failing on the Mayor’s part. This is not to say that the Mayor acted judiciously in the matter.

It was all about when in the process of striking a deal, this time to authorize a fiber-optics network in the Central Business District, the Mayor should have “reached out” to the Council. Even within the Council, there was some posturing about some of its members being included before others.

Get over it!


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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