Sunday, April 26, 2020 … 6:14 P.M.

As the Shreveport City Council and Mayor Adrian Perkins prepare for Tuesday’s virtual council meeting, one piece of very interesting and important business isn’t likely to be brought up …

… slackers among city employees.

‘Seems the matter of employees “working from home” thanks to COVID-19 has turned into some employees not working at all.

One might think that while city officials are working diligently to figure out how many employee lay-offs (firings?) will be necessary, each employee would at least act like they are hard at work.

Well, be that as it may, “the word” of such cheating made it to the top.

The seriousness of the problem necessitated a letter to employees over the signature of City Attorney Mekisha Creal a couple of weeks back.

The most notable paragraph in the missive put the matter this way:

“While many City Employees are working away from their traditional workstations, this arrangement is not, and shall not be treated as, annual leave. As stated in City policy, ‘telecommuting in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with the City of Shreveport.’ Please be advised that the City retains the right to make prearranged inspections of the remote worksites during scheduled work hours.”

City Hall buzz has it that Mayor Perkins has asked department heads for budget-cut proposals of 2%, 5%, and 10%. Then, some sources believe, he last week upped that to plans for 20% cuts in some departments.

In that context, some long-termers believe employee lay-offs are weeks overdue … that cutting payroll spending should have been started immediately after the federal / state “stay at home” and other emergency rules kicked in.

Taken at face value, these facts scream the most obvious question about Shreveport government: while our City is in such serious financial straits – overdue in deep employee cuts and other spending – why in the world does the City Attorney need to remind employees working from home to actually, well, WORK!

With that outrageous incongruity in mind, we must also note that Mayor Perkins has been very quiet throughout this COVID-19 nightmare.

While Perkins, as always, has used the local daily paper to do his talking (to a very small, and certainly definitive, few), Shreveport has in fact had no real leader through any of this.

Regardless that fact, Perkins DID show up very recently – two days ago – with a strange public message … in South Louisiana.

An opinion piece by Perkins was published in Friday’s (Morning) Advocate, the newspaper of and for Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans and environs with a definitively left-of-center voice.

To those of us who know Adrian Perkins’ record as Shreveport mayor, the words written for him, over his name, in that tops-in-Louisiana newspaper matter little. Substantively, they had none. The piece ended up a typical sort of sprinkling of political goodness and light.

BUT, readers with at least as much experience as a typical Louisiana 30-something would know he is running for election to some office or another … down there … NOT re-election here.

Shreveporters, thus, would read it more critically, and ask the obvious: what in the name of typical Louisiana pols is Perkins already running for … while the City that elected him sixteen months ago is in such trouble?!

Thus we return to the point: I know why some Shreveport city employees are grabbing their salary money from us taxpayers while not bothering to work …

… their boss, our mayor, consistently sets precisely such an example.

Perkins hasn’t been “on the job,” any more than they have.

It’s the one thing he has clearly demonstrated.

© 2020 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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