If you look long and hard you can find snippets of objective journalism in the Baton Rouge Advocate – just not where John Bel Edwards is concerned.
The paper has made no oath of fealty to Sharon Weston Broome, the mayor-president in Baton Rouge, though. The Advocate dissected the copious examples of fraud in the curriculum vitae of Broome’s choice for Chief Administrative Officer Troy Bell within a few days of the latter being hired, which led to Bell’s resignation.
East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said she’s disappointed by the man she picked as her top lieutenant, who resigned Friday after just a week on the job amid revelations that his resume was a sham.
Broome should also be disappointed in herself for taking months to fill the job of chief administrative officer, then hiring a con artist and apparently failing to give him a decent background check. “I made a mistake with this important hire and I accept full responsibility,” she said this week.
In the wake of the scandal, Broome promised that her office “will continue to serve our fellow residents in an efficient manner as we have since the beginning of my tenure.”
If this is Broome’s idea of efficiency, we’re in trouble.
Broome, who assumed office in January, took longer to pick her top aide than any Baton Rouge mayor in historical memory, and the result was the worst in memory, too.
After noting that Bell’s claims he hadn’t been fired from two other jobs he held prior to the one in Walla Walla, Washington he was dismissed from most recently were untrue, and so was his claim to have been a “continuing guest lecturer at Purdue University,” there is this…
It’s curious that Broome, who spent months running for an office she had a very good chance at winning, was so unprepared to fill the CAO position that she needed an exhaustively prolonged search to pick someone.
But then again, her leadership — or lack of it — has produced other head-scratchers. In the wake of serious allegations of wrongdoing at the Council on Aging, the mayor essentially shrugged, suggesting that the current governance structure for the agency seems fine. And Broome sat on the sidelines as a heated Metro Council argument about the agency led to a walkout by Democratic council members. Although Broome doesn’t control the council, she can be an important voice in bringing members together – and holding Council on Aging leaders accountable for their missteps.
It’s a bit disappointing the Advocate hasn’t noted a number of other examples of Broome’s poor leadership – like, for example, the transition report she allowed to be released in her name which was one of the most divisive public documents in memory. Or the quixotic campaign to remove BRPD chief Carl Dabadie, who would probably have already retired but for the fear Broome has spread within the department over what happens once he’s gone. Or her appointment of race-baiting hucksters like Gary Chambers and Reginald Pitcher to various mayoral boards, including one which purports to review police procedures. Or her public efforts at stoking tension over the expected revitalization of the St. George movement, which despite Broome’s rhetoric has not reawoken since her election (she seems hell-bent on changing that, though).
There are other highlights, or lowlights, if you prefer.
But it’s nice to see that the Advocate is still capable of stating the obvious in some cases. Would that were true where its pal the governor was concerned.