Tyler’s Shake Up of City Attorney Office is Pure Political Payback

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Opinion by John Settle

In politics, the victor gets the spoils–which means that merit often gives way to who did what, and who is related to whom. From day one on the job, the new Mayor has targeted the City Attorney’s office to exercise her political power in a way that sends a message reflective of her days as Caddo School Superintendent.

William Bradford, Jr.
William Bradford, Jr.

Tyler let it be known during her campaign, that long time city attorney Terri Scott was not to be a part of her administration. Apparently Scott’s major transgression was that she did not have any kin folk close to Ollie and that she had been Mayor’s Glover’s puppet. One of Tyler’s old line supporters and close friends–going back to school board days–and then in the mayor’s race was a certain Mrs. Bradford; she is not related to Councilman Willie Bradford but is the mother of attorney William Bradford. Son William was also active in Tyler’s campaign and actually served as a spokesman of sorts in the run off; most political observers considered Bradford to be a figurehead in the pure sense of the word.

To Market To Market(Short Form)
Short Story…

To make a long story short–Scott could resign or be fired; she took the resignation route. But even before the resignation, Tyler named Bradford to be the deputy city attorney–creating a new position for this upstart barrister. Scott had served as an assistant city attorney starting in 1989, was named as interim city attorney and then finally THE city attorney under Glover in 2006. She was trained by Charles Grubb–one of the foremost municipal lawyers in the state–and her tenure for over 25 years made her one of the most experienced city attorneys in the state. Scott was well respected in her position–and those that dealt with her regularly understood the limitations placed on her by then Mayor Glover which often put her in unenviable positions reconciling her duties to the public with that of her boss Glover.

Ollie Tyler-William Bradford-strategy
Tyler-Bradford during campaign

Bradford will soon move from his new position as Deputy City Attorney to the City Attorney–a career promotion path that can only be justified on the basis of pure politics. Bradford’s credentials to serve as Deputy had been questioned by many; and so will his appointment as THE City Attorney. Bradford was at a premier Shreveport firm for less than 2 years; reported he was asked to leave or be fired. Thereafter he worked for 3 years at the Malone law firm–which was one of the largest contractors for public legal work in the parish because of the political connections of Dannye Malone. Bradford never distinguished himself in his law practice and his race and family connections clearly outshine his professional credentials as a young attorney out of law school less than 6 years.

Bradford was confirmed as the deputy city attorney on January 27 of this year at an annual salary of $80,000. Tyler’s February 6 letter to the council members stated she intended to move him up to the position of city attorney. Her February 9 letters to the Council advised that she was appointing Julie Glass as Deputy City Attorney at a base salary of $72,000 along with Zelda Tucker as a deputy at a base salary of $55,000. Glass works part-time 3 days a week and primarily handles the Council’s work including attendance at all Council work sessions and meetings. Tucker will also be part-time and she will maintain her private practice which primarily consists of defense work for the City, the School Board and insurance companies. Bradford is expected to be bumped up in salary to $120,000, which is certainly more than his experience merits and in fact is ludicrous by any standards.

Tyler-Bradford-PuppeteerAt Tyler’s direction Bradford has crafted a “plan of action to reorganize and restructure” the city attorney’s office to “improve efficiency effectiveness”; this is “Tyler speak” for putting her people on the city payroll without creating any questions on qualifications. Bradford’s plans, based on his less than a month of experience in that office, are (in his words) designed to “accommodate my leadership style”. Tucker, who has 22 years as a part time city attorney, will oversee full time attorneys Jerry Kircus and Koshaneke Gilbert and part timer John Frazier. Glass, who has over 30 years experience as an assistant city attorney, will continue assisting the City Council and oversee full time attorney Ingrid James. Terrell Myles, chief city prosecutor, will remain in his position overseeing full time attorneys Justin Smith and Monique Davis. Bradford is at the top of the chart–meaning he supervises Tucker, Glass and Myles–all of who are his senior by many many years in age, the practice of law and familiarity with the city attorney’s office. Glass, Tucker or Myles are all much better prepared to be the City Attorney than Bradford.

Tyler’s PR machine continues to tout her “efficiency in government “mantra to the extent one wonders when she will actually provide leadership on issues critical to the City versus her own empire building. One thing is for sure–white males will probably be wasting their time in applying for a meaningful job at City Hall. With the exception CAO Brian Crawford, Tyler’s appointees have been female or black; Crawford’s selection was a commitment made by Tyler to gain support of the downtown insiders who ran her campaign. How the new mayor–a self proclaimed expert in running large organizations with big budgets– can justify paying Bradford $120,000 will be a real exercise in bureaucratic spin which is one of Tyler’s real skills.

TimebombIf the reorganization of the City Attorney office is any indicator, many more heads will roll at City Hall as Tyler doles out more political pork to her campaign supporters. Many observers believe that her de facto campaign chairman Lynn Braggs is making key recommendations for his cronies to be on the city payroll. Braggs reportedly served as Glover’s”bag man” shaking down city contractors for “consultant fees” to grease the skids for City work–and that he has continued his back room operations under Tyler. More Tyler moves are expected soon as her as she promotes her first 100 days of “progress”.

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