CADDO PARISH DOES NOT NEED CAREER COMMISSIONERS

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Shreveport Attorney John Settle
by John Settle

Greed by public officials is not a new phenomenon , especially in our state. The Caddo Commission, which generally enjoys a good government reputation, has put a new spin on “public service” by a ballot proposition to extend their terms for up to 20 years.

Currently, Caddo the Home Rule Charter allows three consecutive terms by a commissioner; each term is for four years. The Shreveport Mayor and City Council are limited to two consecutive four year terms. Louisiana’s governor, state senators, and state representatives are also term limited. The Bossier Police Jury, Mayor, and City Council do not have term limits.

Students dream of service!
Students dream of service!

Public service is intended to be an opportunity in citizens to serve their community for a limited period of time. Public service, as an elected official, is not meant to be a lifetime occupation. Seemingly nine Caddo commissioners have forgotten these principles.

No one can deny the power of incumbency, and once elected a public official has a decided advantage against challengers when running in re-election, especially when it comes to fund raising. And its no secret campaign donors expect to be remembered on votes critical to their interests.

Caddo CommissionersOnly three of the commissioners voted against placing this self-serving measure on the ballot (Doug Dominick, Matthew Linn, and Mike Thibodeaux), and they are to be commended for putting the interest of the public good above their own pocketbooks.

Caddo_throw_bums_outMany of the nine commissioners who voted in the proposal are unemployed, and evidently the prospects of getting public paychecks for possibly 8 more years was a temptation they could not refuse. So much for putting the good of the people ahead of their checkbooks.

And if obvious personal greed was not distasteful enough, these wantabe career politicians have taken their tomfoolery to another level by the language of the ballot proposal; the October 19th proposition “limits” consecutive terms to five consecutive terms. Since the Charter currently has a limit of three consecutive terms, the proposition is, in actuality, contrary to term limits. Passage of this proposition would allow commissioners to serve in office longer then the length they can currently serve.

Too Highly Paid!
Too Highly Paid!

Voters should also remember that Caddo commissioners are the highest paid parish elected officials in the state of Louisiana, drawing more than $21,000 a year for a part time job. To make matters worse, under the Charter commissioners receive automatic pay raises whenever parishes employees receive pay raises. There’s no doubt that the Caddo commissioners have one of the cushiest jobs for an elected official in the state of Louisiana.

This proposition should be soundly defeated on October 19th: Hopefully voters will take the time to send a message not only to the Caddo Commission, but to all government officials that accountability is demanded, and that personal agendas should not trump the public good. Career politicians are not needed!

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