You know, voters in Louisiana and in Jefferson Parish must be masochists. We complain about our elected officials. Groups form to oppose incumbents. People stand on street corners waving signs (although not in Kenner anymore – it’s illegal). But, the truth is that we never learn.
We continue to elect and re-elect people with dubious ethics and morals. It many other places, Louisiana rivals Illinois as the butt of political jokes and the people in other states don’t know the whole story.
People across the country know about David Duke. They know about Edwin Edwards. Earl Long. Marc Morial. Ray Nagin. Aaron Broussard (I can’t tell you how many people around the country called me and laughed about Aaron’s TV crying incident). And, of course, they know about “Dollar” Bill Jefferson and, due to the HBO series “Treme”, they now know about Oliver Thomas too. Thanks HBO. I thought we could slip Oliver past them.
Luckily, they don’t know about the local officials that we keep re-electing and shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic that we call government in Louisiana.
How much grief would we get if people knew about the petty criminals that keep finding a way to get elected and leach off the public dole?
In Kenner, we have members of the Kenner City Council writing letters of recommendation to get leniency for a former elected official that was caught defrauding the government.
In other parts of the parish, you and I know about Derrick “Money Launderer” Shepherd, Girod “Fake Invoice” Jackson, Byron “I Never Took Nothing From The People of Waggaman” Lee. And, in the immortal words of Casey Kasem, “The hits just keep on coming.”
Let’s talk about Cedric Floyd.
Floyd, currently a member of the Jefferson Parish School Board, also served on the Board from 1990 – 1998, so, you would think that he would know better. But more on that in a second.
A few weeks after Hurricane Katrina, Floyd was arrested and charged with stockpiling over $90,000 worth of supplies intended for victims in his garage. He was later exonerated and filed a lawsuit against then Kenner Police Chief Nick Congemi, then Captain Steve Caraway and the two police officers that made the arrest. A court threw out his complaint against Congemi and Caraway.
Whether Floyd did or didn’t do anything wrong is still the subject of much debate in Kenner but, with everything going on less than a month after Katrina, I don’t think the Kenner PD went out of their way to arrest the city’s Chief Administrative Officer without something not being kosher.
As I mentioned, Floyd is now a member of the Jefferson Parish School Board again. Why? I don’t know.
Floyd is so slippery that just a few months after his 2nd coming and election to the School Board in 2008, recently retired School Superintendent Diane Roussel said, “I will be taping and/or have a witness present for any conversation or meeting that we have. I find it necessary to do this based on previous meetings and conversations with you.”
To be fair, I wasn’t a huge supporter of Superintendent Roussel but I don’t think she ever felt the need to tape my conversations with her.
When Floyd ran in 2008 and again last year, he listed a PO Box as his address. Rumors swirled that he didn’t even live in his District.
To qualify to run for elected office you need to prove that you are “domiciled” in the District for which you are running. Basically, you need to prove that you live with the people that you want to represent. You don’t have to prove that you can rent a PO Box in the District.
From the Secretary of State’s Candidate Database:
Cedric Floyd 07/11/2008 Democrat P.O. Box 141 , Kenner LA 70063 Black 504-446-7011 Male
There’s nothing wrong with having a PO Box, but it’s not your “primary residence” or “domicile”. Unless you’re a contortionist.
If allegations of stealing food and supplies intended for Hurricane victims, listing a PO Box as your primary address and having the School Superintendent send you a memo saying that she isn’t comfortable having a one-on-one conversation with a School Board member without a witness or a tape recorder present isn’t enough of a black-eye, Floyd is at again, only now he’s complaining about money.
That is, he wants more of your money.
Now, Jefferson Parish School Board members don’t earn a tremendous amount of money. They get paid $800 per month and, while it won’t make you rich, many people in Jefferson Parish would love a part-time job that gave them an extra $800 per month in their pocket.
The $800 per month is the maximum allowed by the state.
But, that’s not enough for Cedric Floyd.
At a recent School Board Finance Committee meeting, Floyd said “It costs to be a Jefferson Parish School Board member.”
Now, Cedric Floyd wants an expense account.
Tired of spending some of his own $800 to buy mundane items like postage stamps and copies, Floyd wants you to pay for it.
“If you want to mail something you just pay for it yourself, unlike the Jefferson Parish Council, which has a staff,” Floyd said.
So, now we have Council-envy?
I know some of you are thinking, what’s the big deal? Just give Cedric $.25 every now and then to pay for his copies at Office Depot. But is that right? And how much will be enough for people like Cedric Floyd?
That’s the real question: how much should an expense account be and what should it pay for? Today, copies. Tomorrow, Dinner at Ruth’s Chris?
Not to mention the fact that the Jefferson Parish School System isn’t exactly swimming in cash. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
The School Board just completed a round of budget discussions so they could trim $26 Million from their budget. At the last School Board meeting, they proposed a furlough day for teachers to try to save $1.5 Million.
Every school year many teachers spend hundreds, some thousands, of dollars to purchase supplies for their classes and their students. If teachers feel the need to dip into their own pockets, and our school board can’t afford to reimburse them, why does Floyd feel that he is above our teachers?
Floyd is rumored to be considering running for Jefferson Parish Council in October. Maybe then, if the voters are dumb enough to elect Floyd, he’ll get the staff that he so longs for and he’ll be able to have his copies made and his postage stamps paid for by someone else.
Or does Floyd want to be on the Jefferson Parish Council because it pays more than the School Board?
Is it the staff, the expenses, or the pay that makes Cedric Floyd think that he’s worthy of joining the Jefferson Parish Council? Only Cedric knows the answer to that question.
And, what District would he represent? Does anyone even know where he lives? He can’t live in a PO Box, unless it’s a really big PO Box.
Regardless of Cedric’s answer or what Cedric Floyd wants, if he runs for Jefferson Parish Council, if Cedric Floyd runs for anything, the voters of Jefferson Parish need to wise up and stop being masochists and show Cedric Floyd the door.
And while we’re at it, why don’t we send Girod Jackson and Byron Lee, and all of the other stooges, packing too. It is unbelievable to me that Girod Jackson is seeking re-election as a State Rep. Glad I don’t live in his District.
Thankfully, Byron Lee is term-limited on the Jefferson Parish Council but I bet that in September he’ll throw his hat in the ring to try to be elected something. And, knowing Byron Lee, he’ll have his supporters (or co-conspirators, depending upon your way of looking at things). I know Girod Jackson will be in both of those columns soon.
Maybe former Superintendent Roussel will write Floyd a letter of recommendation and he’ll be able to get another part-time job, this time one that’s not on the public dole.
I know I’ve got my letter of recommendation ready.