The Hayride

Holden squanders homeland security grant

Holden squanders homeland security grant
June 18
10:20 2011

For those folks in Baton Rouge who don’t feel safe, you’re not alone — neither does Mayor Kip Holden. From yesterday’s Advocate:

Earlier this month, about $8,000 in security upgrades were installed outside of the Mayor’s Office suite on the third floor of the city hall building….

The most recent security upgrades added a keypad lock outside the glass door to the lobby, meaning visitors could have to be buzzed in twice to get through to the mayor.

The new keypad lock will only be used on an “as-needed basis,” said John Carpenter, chief administrative officer for Holden.

What an absolute waste of taxpayer money. There is already ample security in place for the Mayor — a dedicated, full-time contingent of police bodyguards/drivers, on-site police presence in the Governmental Building downtown and a locked door that visitors must pass through to access the Mayor’s Office.

And let’s not forget that this new keypad lock on the lobby door will only be used “as-needed,” which means that Kip Holden just spent your tax dollars on something he doesn’t really need and may never use.

The bigger issue here is Kip Holden’s increased paranoia, something which I think is hindering his ability to be an effective leader. Simply, Holden’s erratic behavior over the last year suggests he doesn’t trust anyone outside his close-knit inner circle, which may be why he still hasn’t hired permanent directors for two major departments in East Baton Rouge government.

Information Services has had a temp director since Don Evans resigned last October when his name surfaced in the Mark St. Pierre/Greg Meffert investigation (St. Pierre has since been found guilty of wire fraud, conspiracy and bribing city officials). Meanwhile, Public Works has been led on a temp basis by Holden’s Asst. CAO Bill Daniel since March when Pete Newkirk retired.

And don’t plan on things improving anytime soon. Jim Llorens, Holden’s other Asst. CAO is leaving to become the new Chancellor of Southern University, and word on the street is that John Carpenter, Holden’s CAO, is leaving before the end of this year.

Quite simply, the Mayor’s Office is a wreck and Kip Holden’s administration appears to be falling apart. No wonder he spent $8,000 to keep the voting public from getting too close to his office.

You can email Bruce Landry at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @hayridebruce.

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