D.D.A. OPPOSES CROSS BAYOU PT. / CITY HALL INSURANCE AUDIT
Saturday, December 14, 2019 … 12:14 P.M.
It is certainly true that 2019 has been anything but a good year for Shreveport.
Two news stories of the year well demonstrate the plight of all remaining residents: the curse of what is this time called “Cross Bayou Point,” and the intended correction of the casualty insurance scam which kicked off Perkins’ mayoralty.
Late yesterday, the Shreveport Times posted an opinion piece against Cross Bayou Point by Liz Swaine, Executive Director of our Downtown Development Authority.
Ms. Swaine is, inarguably I would say, the best qualified Shreveport official in matters related to downtown development and associated politics. Too, she has deep experience in fighting off the unending attempts to use Cross Bayou as an illegitimate way to score taxpayer money.
In addressing the way project promoters of Cross Bayou Point / “GDC” routinely trash Shreveport’s existing downtown, Swaine says this, in part:
“What is harder to live with is the negative and damaging narrative GDC is working hard to spin about downtown, a place they regularly call ‘dead’, ‘dying’ and ‘desolate.’ …
The worse GDC can make our city feel about our situation, our efforts, our successes, the more we will believe that we need to be saved, and Cross Bayou Point will be that savior.
Downtown certainly has challenges as all places do, but downtown is populated by hard-working people who are expending blood, sweat, tears and money from their own pockets to create things that did not exist before, to create jobs and to improve both quality of life and options for those who live, work and come to play here. …
Above all, we support smart growth and development that is fiscally sound, especially if such growth is to be supported by public dollars. Because the current Cross Bayou project as described is not, we feel strongly that we must oppose it.”
(See Link #1 below for complete Times article.)
A second noteworthy report released in the past 24 hours is from and by City Hall’s strongly respected Internal Auditor, Leanis L. Steward. The report details the shocking decision by Mayor Perkins and his team to dump the City’s longtime casualty insurance provider.
Infamously, Perkins acted to switch that insurance to a “friend” of other “friends” of his … the day before he was sworn into office.
The audit reveals that the behind-the-scenes actor of note in the stunner – never before publicly identified – was Shanerika Flemings.
In its report on the audit, KTBS News notes:
“The report said the city’s risk manager, Evelyn Kelly, told then-interim Chief Administrative Officer Sherricka Jones by email that ‘the directive came from the current chief adviser to the mayor, who was not a city employee at the time.’ That official is Shanerika Flemings, who is Perkins’ special adviser. She’s seen sitting next to Perkins at council meetings.”
Though not an employee when she stepped-up to be the “do-er” in the deal, she was quickly on the payroll with a $101,000 annual salary, according to a report by The Times on January 4, 2019.
The good news now is that the previous, long-time provider of the city’s casualty insurance will be back in that slot next month. Here is City Councilman James Flurry’s comment to The Times:
“We looked at the three proposals that were submitted and we evaluated them and turned our evaluations in to the city attorney who is responsible for dispatchment and Gallagher received the contract and have (sic) already been notified that we are renewing our contract Jan. 1, (2020). It was a misstep being new on the job.”
(SEE Link #2 for full audit report.)
© 2019 Elliott Stonecipher … ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
1. Liz Swaine on Cross Bayou Point, Shreveport Times, December 13, 2019:
2. Shreveport Internal Audit on Insurance Procurement, December 11, 2019: