By Marion Marks
3:31 p.m. CDT October 3, 2014, Patrick Williams’ letter published on the Shreveport Times website as he states that approaching election day, “the further we get from the truth” and he wants “to set the record straight on (his) expenses, once and for all.”
If May 8 was too close to the election, Williams and his hit men need to do a little more research. On that day, New Orleans investigative journalist for WVUE, Lee Zurik, broke the first account of Williams “Double Dip” as he called it.
This was followed by a detailed accounting audit by “A certain North Carolina politico” (published in the Shreveport Times!) who found details of thousands more “Double Dip” payments that Williams seems to have been paid twice. And these are not recent stories as note, August 23 Shreveport Times, and September 25, Shreveport Times.
KTBS also issued a story by Gerry May on the “Double Dips” that covered the issue on September 12, and allowed Williams a response on September 23rd which did little to address the real issues. The Williams original response to KTBS in August appears to show blame placed on his accounting staff.
Voters continue to have questions more about the ethics of the respondent in failing to comprehend that accepting two payments for even legitimate expenses can’t possibly be twisted into an acceptable policy. It’s almost as easy to explain that a government worker could make more money by turning in expenses for double payments than the total of their salary. That would be a great job!
Williams now say “The truth is, the manner in which I’ve handled my expenses is neither unethical nor illegal. If that weren’t true, I would not enjoy the endorsement of so many members of the law enforcement community.”
The problem is that we should challenge these endorsers to stand up and explain how double dipping could possibly be ethically and legally endorsed. Several I have asked shake their heads and claim it’s above their pay grade. If all those on the Williams endorsement list are still comfortable, we would have serious doubts for these their judgement. Amazingly, many of them hold high office!
Yes, Mr. Williams, citizens of Shreveport truly “… need young energetic leadership to market Shreveport to the world, because we are in a world economy.” But far more than this we need unquestioned ethical leadership. And, your doubling down again in the face of being caught, called out and now branded just won’t sell in River City!
As I wrote previously, and probably have beat the horse too much, I can only hope our standards are higher than what you purport as acceptable for government officials. There may not currently be a law specifically disallowing the acceptance of payments greater that the actual costs or reimbursement rates expressed in the Louisiana code. But, I can only hope that at the next available opportunity we have a legislator who pushes a new law specifically for this limitation. Louisiana politicians seem to find new ways to generate lows for acceptable behavior.
And, even if it is “legal” you would still are required to declare the additional money you received as income on your federal tax return. We expect to see soon how you treated this in your report and if you are seeking transparency, you will make this clear.
Denial by you of the apparent extra money you received as unacceptable makes your outstanding resume in all other areas less stellar. It has never been my intention to discredit the hard work you have done in other areas and the educational achievements on your record, but defending behaviors that I find abhorrent disqualifies you from my list of qualified candidates.
Shreveport needs change from the path we have followed in the current administration, but as I disqualify Glover as a successful administrator of Shreveport, your questions of ethical accounting for public resources and behavior would not improve the image of our city. As you note, “Shreveport is a great city, but it can be greater. It only needs a spark…” Let’s hope we we find a better ethical choice.