Friday, September 22, 2017

Zahn and Impastato's Campaign Manager Gets His "Taste" of Kenner Freedom Fest $$$

C'mon - you're not really surprised, are you?

In the Mafia, it's a tradition for everyone in a crew to "kick up" to their boss after they make a financial score. Their boss  kicks up to his boss, who ultimately kicks up to THE BOSS. By "kicking up", everyone gets a "taste" of the score.

In Kenner and Jefferson Parish, if there's money to be made, politicians find a way to "kick up" so Greg Buisson gets his "taste".

Buisson is the campaign manager/consultant for Jefferson Parish's Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni, Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn, several JP Councilmen, Kenner Councilman and JP District 4 Council candidate Dominick Impastato, and Kenner Councilmen Lenny Cline and Mike Sigur. Buisson also worked on the council campaign of Councilman-At-Large Tom Willmott.

Buisson has his tentacles in a wide array of Jefferson Parish NGOs including the Jefferson Convention & Visitor's Bureau (JCVB). While Kenner Mayor, Mike Yenni shut down the Kenner Convention & Visitor's Bureau (KCVB) and, rather than finding a Kenner-centric organization to promote Kenner, Yenni shuffled off Kenner's Hotel/Motel tax dollars to the Buisson-controlled JCVB.

Buisson is involved in Family Gras, Uncle Sam Jam, Mardi Gras parade viewing stands and literally EV ERYTHING tourism-related in Southeast Louisiana.

So, it is to be expected that Ben Zahn and the "Buisson Boys" on the Kenner City Council, would find a way to get Buisson involved in the first Kenner Freedom Fest.

Although the Freedom Fest was held in Laketown, Zahn slyly got the Friends of Rivertown to act as his bag man so he could get his friends like Buisson involved without the need to put anything through the City of Kenner or it's bidding process - although there is no doubt that City of Kenner employees were involved in Freedom Fest. At a recent council meeting, Zahn complemented his Assistant in charge of Party Planning, Mary-Sharon Howland, for her work in soliciting sponsorship dollars.

According to a preliminary financial report, the Freedom Fest raised almost $131,000, the bulk of which came from Sponsor Fees ($83,500) and not including $50,000 from Jefferson Parish Interim District 4 Councilman Jack Rizzuto's district fund and almost $35,000 from the City of Kenner. That almost $85,000 is listed as "Reimbursements".

After "Reimbursing" JP and Kenner, Freedom Fest will eek out a meager profit of $7,000. Of course, the event wasn't designed to make money. But, by using tourism dollars you would hope that the City would generate some business to grow tourism.

Given the bands involved and the fact that the Freedom Fest was held on a holiday weekend, it is doubtful that anyone other than the bands themselves spent any time in a Kenner hotel.

Now, before you get the wrong idea, I think events like Freedom Fest are needed and should be promoted in the City, assuming the City has the funding. But, to say that Freedom Fest was a boon to Kenner tourism is a flat out lie.

Which makes the inclusion of Buisson all the more puzzling.

Despite telling The Advocate that he was paid $6,000 (and Zahn's attempts to "clarify the truth" at this past Council meeting), Buisson was actually paid $19,972.64 - almost $20,000, for his role in booking the bands and providing his advertising services. In addition to Buisson's "taste", almost $40,000 was paid to the performers.

According to Zahn and the representative from Friends of RIvertown, Buisson charged "only" 10% of the performer's booking fees, so he SHOULD have been paid less than $4,000.

As many of you know, I spent years in radio and still have many radio contacts. Radio stations across the country book emerging acts (like the three "National" acts that Buisson booked for Freedom Fest) that are routinely brought to town to play for nothing more than their expenses (generally traded out hotel rooms and catering).

Since New Orleans is home to three of the largest radio companies in America (iHeart, Cumulus and Entercom) and two of the three (iHeart and Cumulus) have Country Music stations, having a relationship with one of the radio companies (which would have also provided free advertising and promotion as well) could have resulted in Kenner saving the $40k in performance fees and the $20k paid to Buisson, which would have meant almost $60,000 in greater profit for the Friends of Rivertown (and, perhaps, next year they wouldn't need to charge $5 to park in the City-owned Pontchartrain Center Parking Lot).

But then, Zahn, Impastato and the rest of "Buisson Boys" wouldn't have been able to "kick up" to Don Buisson.

And, when it comes to Kenner and JP Politics, you MUST "kick up" to Don Buisson.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Impastato Lies About Council Endorsements

As if there weren't enough fake political endorsement groups put together by Jefferson Parish's Minister of Propaganda Greg Buisson, he is now using ads in the Kenner Star to lie to the public about endorsements for his client, Kenner District 5 Councilman and JP District 4 candidate Dominick Impastato.

Buisson's idol, the Nazi Propagandist Joseph Goebbels said, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Since Dominick Impastato himself is repeating the lie, HE obviously believes it.

In a full page ad in Kenner Star featuring a message from our own pathological lying Mayor, and fellow Buisson client, Ben Zahn, the headline reads:

"Kenner's Mayor, a Majority of the Kenner City Council, Kenner's Chief of Police, and 100% of our elected Eastbank Jefferson Parish Councilmembers all agree that Dominick Impastato is our best choice for Councilman."

The problem is - that isn't true.

Let's dissect the lies.

"A Majority of the Kenner City Council" - If you include Impastato himself (and one hopes that HE is endorsing himself), there are 7 Council members. A "Majority" of 7 is 4.

If you don't count Impastato, and you really shouldn't, there are 6 Council members. Since 6 is an even number, a "Majority" is still 4.

District 2 Councilman Mike Sigur and District 4 Councilman Lenny Cline, both Buisson clients, have endorsed Impastato.

At-Large Councilwoman Maria DeFrancesch and District 3 Councilman Keith Reynaud have endorsed State Senator Danny Martiny.

At-Large Councilman Tom Willmott and District 1 Councilman Gregory Carroll have not endorsed anyone.

So, in what universe does 2 (Sigur and Cline) equal a "Majority" of 6?

Impastato and Buisson must be using Common Core math.

Now, let's look at the JP Council statement:

"100% of our elected Eastbank Jefferson Parish Councilmembers all agree" - again, not true.

Currently, there are 3 "elected"  District Councilmembers and 2 "elected" At-Large Councilmembers representing the Eastbank. All 3 "elected" District Councilmembers (Johnston, Spears and Van Vrancken) are Buisson Clients and are, of course, endorsing fellow Buisson client Impastato.

Both At-Large Councilmembers, Chris Roberts and Cynthia Lee-Sheng, have endorsed Martiny.

3 out of 5 is NOT 100%.

In addition to the ad in the Kenner Star, Impastato has been publicly and privately making the same endorsement claims.

Like Sigur, Cline, Johnston, Spears and Van Vrancken, Zahn and Kenner's Police Chief Mike Glaser ARE Buisson clients.

In fact, Zahn is probably still making installment payments to Buisson for his win over me in 2011 and Glaser paid Buisson over $16,000 in 2014 despite running unopposed. Glaser paid Buisson another $200 in 2016 to design a fundraising invitation a full two years before his next election (in which he will probably run unopposed).

So, what the Kenner Star ad should have said is, "100% of Greg Buisson's Clients All Agree".

But, that wouldn't look or sound good, now would it?

Somewhere, probably in Hell, Joseph Goebbels is smiling.



Sunday, September 10, 2017

“Fresh Ideas”? No, Just Impastato “Politrics”


In another universe, I might like Kenner District 5 Councilman (and JP Council District 4 candidate) Dominick Impastato. 
He’s bright and, on the surface at least, looks like someone you would actually want in government. Unlike his friends, he’s not a Sexual Predator, a pathological liar or a money-grubbing whore who is only out for himself. 
Like I said, in another universe perhaps, but in this universe, Dominick Impastato has already been corrupted. 
Now I’m not saying that Impastato is politically corrupt, at least not in the traditional way of thinking (although he and disgraced former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard do share the same campaign manager). There’s been no proof of bribes or quid pro quo offered to or by me.
But, Impastato IS politically corrupt in the Jefferson Parish/Kenner way. 
And, that’s truly sad. 
It’s even sadder watching Impastato sit smugly upon his Kenner City Council chair and continue to attempt to justify his actions and watching his condescending ways (obviously learned from his mentor Mike Yenni). 
At several recent Kenner City Council meetings, residents have questioned Impastato about his shady campaign tactics.

Despite Kenner having a political sign ordinance which bans signs put out more than 60 days prior to an election, Impastato “bought” a vehicle, draped it with campaign signs and parked it in a private parking lot. The vehicle didn’t move for several weeks, which itself is a violation of Kenner code. 
When he was questioned about it at a Council meeting, Impastato smugly said that he drove the vehicle, although he admitted to not having a license plate on the vehicle (another violation of Kenner law and code). Impastato even had the audacity to get the Kenner City Attorney to prove that he was not violating Kenner Code since he’s involved in a Jefferson Parish election and the vehicle is a “rolling billboard”. 
Yeah, a “rolling billboard” that doesn’t move and isn’t licensed. 
Don’t we all sleep better at night knowing that our elected officials look for loopholes in the laws that they are sworn to uphold? 
At another Council meeting, Impastato was accused of putting up a campaign sign at the entrance of a subdivision. When questioned by a resident about that sign, Impastato said, “If it’s in the wrong place, I will move it.”
So, now elected officials can do whatever they want in Kenner until they are caught? How does that work? 
Another resident complained about the huge campaign banner Impastato has at his campaign headquarters which is considerably larger than Kenner sign law allows and, since it’s a banner and not a permanent sign, also violates other Kenner sign laws. 
When he was questioned about it, Impastato smugly said, “I’m surprised that it took someone this long to ask about it.”
Impastato again got the Kenner City Attorney involved and said that the banner was legal because he got a permit for it. 
How could he get a permit for an illegal banner that exceeded both size and duration?
And, why would Kenner’s Code Enforcement Department grant a permit? 
The answer is, if Impastato wasn’t supported by Mayor Zahn, a permit would never have seen the light of day.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want an elected official representing me who manipulates the rules and gets others to bend the rules for him. 


The Uber/Taxi Debacle
Recently, Kenner was involved in a huge debate regarding ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft and their impact on the taxi industry. While it was spearheaded by Mayor Zahn, District 2 Councilman Mike Sigur and District 4 Councilman Lenny Cline (both also involved with Greg Buisson), Impastato worked feverishly behind the scenes. It was painfully obvious that Impastato was favoring TNCs like Uber and Lyft and against taxi drivers. 
When a representative of the Taxi Union spoke before the Council and asked that the Taxi industry be treated fairly and the Uber/Lyft drivers be held to the same set of standards and fees as taxi drivers, Impastato treated the Union representative like a hostile witness under interrogation. 
Impastato, sitting smugly in his Council chair, fired off question after question and repeatedly interrupted the Union Rep and wouldn’t let him finish answering. 
As a resident of Kenner, I was appalled at the way an elected official was treating a member of the public who was simply asking for “fairness”. 
Isn't "fairness" something that government should strive for? 
No citizen addressing a City Council should be the subject of an interrogation or verbally assaulted.



Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign
In addition to Impastato’s other sign issues, I’ve received at least a dozen emails or calls about another Impastato campaign “trick”: putting campaign signs in people’s yards without their consent.

Here’s how this trick works: Impastato, or someone from his campaign, knocks on your door. If you’re not home, a yard sign goes up in your yard and a note saying, “Sorry I missed you. I put a sign in your yard. If it’s a problem, call me.” 
If it happened once, I’d say, “It’s on overzealous campaign worker”. Since I know of at least 12 occurrences in different parts of Kenner, it’s not just one campaign worker. Of course, if Impastato was confronted he would just do what he always does, deny any involvement. 
Since no one is going to call a sitting City Councilman, who may be a Parish Councilman, and confront them about a yard sign, and since folks are also afraid to remove the unwanted yard sign for fear of retaliation, Impastato gets over again. 
But, is that the kind of elected official we want in office? Someone who tacitly intimidates folks over a yard sign? 
 The Yenni Connection
In addition to Zahn, Impastato also has the support of Jefferson Parish’s Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni and he uses Zahn and Yenni’s Campaign Manager, the Minister of Propaganda and the biggest whore in Jefferson Parish, Greg Buisson. 
Impastato has taken pains to tell anyone who listen that he “will be his own man” and isn’t affiliated with Yenni. 
If you are foolish enough to believe that, I have an old toll bridge over the Mississippi River that I’d like to sell you. 
Impastato is where he is directly because of his friendship with Mike Yenni. Despite the fact that Impastato hadn’t created five jobs in his entire life, Yenni appointed him as Chairman of Yenni’s hand-picked Economic Development Committee. Before this, no one outside of a few folks involved in Kenner’s playgrounds had ever heard of Dominick Impastato. 
You will recall that the Economic Development Committee didn’t create one job or attract or retain one business for Kenner. 
What the Economic Development Committee DID DO is saddle Kenner residents with $40 Million in debt for Yenni’s 2030 Plan. 4 years after the money was borrowed, and with Yenni long gone to Parish Government (although he should be in jail, in my opinion), and Kenner residents still have not received any accounting of the Plan.  

When Impastato ran for Kenner City Council in 2014, Yenni ardently campaigned for him and helped significantly increase Impastato’s campaign fund with contributions from city (and parish) contractors.
Impastato owes his political career to Mike Yenni and, if Yenni hadn’t been exposed as the Sexual Predator that we now know he is, he would be out front leading Impastato’s JP Council campaign committee. Instead, we get Mike Yenni Lite, aka Ben Zahn. 
“Impastato Is Yenni’s Candidate”
When someone like Clancy DuBos at Gambit is bright enough to put 2+2 together, you know it’s obvious.
The question every Jefferson Parish District 4 resident needs to ask themselves is: “Do I want someone who is so closely aligned with someone as morally bankrupt as Mike Yenni, representing me?”
Now, to be fair, if you’ve read this blog in the past you know that I’ve had my differences with Impastato’s opponent, State Senator Danny Martiny. I’ve also butted heads on more than one occasion with former Sheriff Newell Normand, who is endorsing Martiny. 
But, differing with Martiny or Normand on issues is completely different than the case against Mike Yenni. 
Yenni continues to disgrace Jefferson Parish Government with his mere presence.
Last week, I was having a discussing with someone in Gonzales. When I mentioned that I was from Kenner, she said, “Is that pervert still your Parish President?”
Pervert.
Sexual Predator.
Whether you agree or disagree with Mike Yenni’s politics, everything is overshadowed by his infidelity and dalliances with high school boys. 
Do we really want someone who is considered “Yenni’s Candidate” representing us and our Parish?

I think you know my answer. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Zahn Wants To Be "The Decider"

Despite the fact that I've refrained from using the "Lyin' Ben" moniker when referring to Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn, it seems that I've been ruffling more than a few feathers at Kenner City Hall.

To that, I have only a one-word response:

GOOD.

But now Kenner residents, you should be afraid. Very afraid.

On the Supplemental Agenda for tonight's Kenner City Council meeting is Item 13-A, "A resolution in support of the Mayor's implementation of a policy implementing an Apolitical Workforce for Non-Civil Service Employees based on The Hatch Act."

We've already discussed some of the pros and cons regarding the Hatch Act, a law first enacted in 1939 primarily to ensure that Federal employees were not participating in meetings with Communist organizations during World War II.

If I believed that Zahn were truly on the side of the people of Kenner, instead of caring primarily about his own interests, I'd say, "Ok. This is a good step."

But, it isn't.

Instead, Zahn wants complete authority to decide what is and isn't "political activity" for his political appointees.

Will Zahn implement a rigid policy to ensure an "Apolitical Workforce"? Doubtful. To the contrary, Zahn will offer a watered-down policy that will allow his appointees to make campaign contributions, attend fundraisers, solicit contributions from businesses and people, and pretty much do whatever they can to ensure the re-election of Zahn and "The Buisson Boys" as long as it isn't during working hours.

Look, I could care less if a city employee wants to put a "Ben Zahn for Mayor" sign in their yard or a bumper sticker on their car. If they want to devalue their property and auto, who am I to be concerned?

The issue comes down to influence.

I don't want Ben Zahn going from office to office like Aaron Broussard did soliciting campaign contributions from the City of Kenner's highest paid employees who fear that, if they don't pony up a contribution, they will lose their jobs.

I don't want Ben Zahn shaking down his political appointees like Harry Lee, and forcing them to sell tickets to a Zahn fundraiser.

I don't want Ben Zahn forcing his political appointees like Mike Yenni did, to go door-to-door canvassing neighborhoods and businesses for sign locations and intimidating businesses and residents who support a different candidate.

And, I really don't want Ben Zahn making a unilateral decision about what is and isn't "political activity" when, the lower he sets the bar, the more he will benefit.

No, banning political appointees from engaging in political only during working hours and not allowing them to use city resources is not enough.

If Zahn is sincere in his words to uphold the charter and in his desire for a true "Apolitical Workforce", now is the time to put his money where his mouth is.

Or, will the people of Kenner continue to get nothing but talk from Zahn?

William Faulkner wrote, "Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words."

Especially when they come from the mouths of politicians.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Losing Public Opinion, Zahn Offers A Compromise So He Can Still Win

Clearly losing in the "Court of Public Opinion" and trying his best to pull out a victory after a string of political losses, Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn is trying a new tactic: offering a compromise which may still get Zahn his preferred result and allow his Band of 12 Malcontents to participate in his upcoming re-election campaign.

In a letter today (Tuesday, 8/1) to members of the Kenner City Council, Zahn discussed the lawsuit by the Malcontents and their attempt to overthrow the 2012 Charter Change which banned political activity by non-classified (political appointees) employees.

The Malcontents filed for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to allow them to participate in campaigns until the court had rendered a final verdict, which could occur long after the Spring 2018 elections.

While the Court ruled that the City could ban political activity by non-classified employees, they also ruled that the Charter Change was too vague and did not define "political activity".

Zahn is proposing that the Council introduce an ordinance that is similar to the Hatch Act, which bans certain political activity by Federal and some State employees.

The Hatch Act bans political activity during working hours; in government offices; while using a government vehicle; and while wearing an official uniform. It also bans employees from wearing political buttons while on duty; from accepting or soliciting political contributions; and from soliciting or discouraging political activity of anyone with business before their agency.

The Hatch Act does not ban political activity during non-working hours; stop employees from attending political fundraisers or contributing money to candidates; or preclude employees from being members of political clubs or endorsement groups.

As I said, if the Council approves an ordinance similar to the Hatch Act, Zahn will still get what he wants and he secures a political victory by claiming that he upheld the Charter and the will of the people of Kenner.

"I propose this ordinance as an interim step to support the people's wishes until such time as a Charter Amendment can be put forth. If adopted by you, we will then argue in the Permanent Injunction that the plaintiffs' claims as we now have in force limitations which are constitutional," Zahn wrote.

But why stop there?

Why not include additional activities that the Hatch Act doesn't cover like being members of the multitude of fake Endorsement groups out there or banning employees from contributing to campaigns or attending fundraisers?

When he was in office, for JP Parish President Aaron Broussard would routinely pass the hat and expect campaign contributions from his political appointees. And Broussard wasn't alone.

If you have 40+ political appointees as Zahn does (and that figure grows almost daily), and they each give a max $2,500 donation ($5,000 if there's a runoff), Zahn would receive $100-200k from his political appointees alone.

$2,500 or even $5,000 is a small price to pay to keep an $80-100k per year job with government benefits and a taxpayer-funded pension.

Of course, if Zahn or the Council were to take these additional steps, that wouldn't help the Zahn Campaign as much.

And, regardless of what he says or writes, we all know by now that Ben Zahn is all about Ben Zahn.

In closing his letter, Zahn continued to defend his Malcontents.

"Finally, when we do address this in public, I am reminded that the plaintiffs are our employees and many are our constituents. We work with them on a daily basis and they continue to be dedicated to their work for the citizens of Kenner. We may not agree with their opinions about government but we must support their right to express their opinions about government. The right to petition government for redress of grievances has been part of the United States Constitution since 1791. We can respectfully disagree, with, I hope, the emphasis on respect," Zahn wrote.

Gee, thanks for the lesson in Constitutional Government there Ben but, I think you really should spend some time with your Malcontents, particularly Stephen Petit, regarding the "respect" portion.

Again, regardless of what you say or write Ben, YOUR APPOINTEES clearly don't understand the meaning of the word "RESPECT" when it comes to members of the Council or the people of Kenner.

In fact, I sincerely doubt that you do either Ben.




Sunday, July 30, 2017

Zahn Lies, Defends Malcontent Political Appointees Suing City

For some time, I referred to Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn as Lyin' Ben. Recently, some people have taken offense to that moniker. While the overwhelmingly majority of readers (probably significantly higher than the 70% that approved the Charter Change regarding political activity), like my nickname for Zahn, out of deference to the few who are actually upset by the term "Lyin' Ben", I have stopped calling Zahn that.

Besides, I KNOW that Ben is a pathological liar.

So, while I have refrained from using the term "Lyin' Ben", I will still continue to point out most of the times where Zahn lies (sorry, can't point them all out since it happens almost every time he opens his mouth).

At the last Kenner City Council meeting, Zahn told some whoppers. If we were in Washington, DC, (or had a media that actually called out Zahn on his lies), the Washington Post would label Zahn's council performance as worthy of "4 Pinocchios", their highest rating of untruths.

During the citizen comments at the end of the Council meeting, there was an exchange between a citizen and Zahn. It began as a reference from the citizen to the frequent disagreements between the Council and the Mayor. Of course, with the reliable 4 "Buisson Boys" (Lenny Cline, Dominick Impastato, Mike Sigur and Tom Willmott) voting predictably as a block, they are just minor disagreements.

In all honesty, I don't mind disagreements between the Council and the Mayor, particularly if one of the parties is actually looking out for the people of Kenner.

Sadly, with Zahn and the "Buisson Boys", there aren't enough folks left on the Council advocating for the best interests of Kenner residents, thus the frequent 4-3 votes. And we know Zahn is all about Zahn and his campaign contributors, regardless of what the people of Kenner want.

After her comments regarding the Council-Mayor spats, she discussed the lawsuit by the 12 Malcontent political appointees who are suing the City to overturn the 2012 Charter Change, approved by a 70-30% vote, banning political activity by non-classified employees.

This is where the lies from Zahn really started flying.

When Zahn asked the woman what she wanted him to do about the 12 Malcontents, the woman replies, "I want you to fire them."

Of course, this is something that I've said since I first heard about the lawsuit.

Zahn replied, "The people of Kenner want an apolitical workforce. If I fired them, that would make it political".

What???

Yes, the voters wanted the non-classified employees to be like the civil service employees, the Kenner Police Department (except for the Police Chief) and the Kenner Firefighters, and stay out of politics.

While these non-classified employees are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the Mayor, they should work for ALL Kenner residents and shouldn't be out campaigning for one Kenner resident over another during every election.

The fact that these 12 Malcontents accepted their jobs knowing the rules laid out by the people of Kenner (including the residency rule which Zahn has also not upheld for a select few), is a show of contempt for the voters who approved the political ban.

As I said, these 12 Malcontents work for US. They cannot, and should not, disrespect US.

If you have a job working for someone else, and you disrespect your boss and decide that you want to change the rules and do what you want, you would be fired.

Why not these 12 Malcontents?

The reason that Zahn hasn't fired them isn't that he doesn't want to make this "political", it already is.

Zahn knows that he can use these people and their influence to help him get re-elected. It is really that simple.

What business owner, that wants to stay in business, would dare tell the Code Enforcement Director, "No, you can't put a Ben Zahn sign in front of my business"?

The intimidation factor alone of having a high ranking City employee pushing candidates on citizens and business owners, is what the Charter Change was designed to stop.

Regardless of the semantics or whether the term "political activity" is too broad and not specific enough in the Charter Change, the idea for the Charter Change is legitimate - whether a Judge agrees or not.

The bottom line is that 12 Malcontents (some of whom don't even live in the City of Kenner and couldn't vote on a Charter Change anyway), shouldn't be able to overturn the will of 13,000+ Kenner voters.

Instead of colluding with the 12 Malcontents and assigning an ill-prepared Attorney who couldn't answer the Judge's questions or offer citations for his own legal arguments, Zahn should have immediately terminated these Malcontents when he first heard about the lawsuit.

Perhaps I'm getting cynical in my old age but, since Zahn wins if the City and Kenner residents lose, there is nothing that Ben can say that would convince me that he wasn't behind this lawsuit every step of the way.

But, let's debunk another of Ben's lies fro.

During the exchange with the woman, Zahn said, "These are not my political appointees. They were appointed by Muniz and the previous Mayor".

More semantic word games from Ben Zahn from the Council meeting.

Here's some facts:

- When Zahn took over, Stephen Petit (the self-anointed "Ringleader" of the Malcontents) was the Code Enforcement Director. Zahn moved Petit over to the Mayor's Court as Prosecutor. Did Zahn hire Petit? No. But did Zahn transfer/promote Petit? Of course. Petit is still a political appointee of Zahn.

- After Petit was moved, Zahn promoted Rich Walther (another of the Malcontents), to Code Enforcement Director. Did Zahn hire Walther? No. But did Zahn promote Walther? Yes, thus Walther IS a political appointee of Zahn.

- Mary-Sharon Howland (another of the Malcontents and a longtime political operative in Kenner) was moved by Zahn into the new position of Mayoral Assistant in charge of Party Planning. Did Zahn hire Howland? No. But did Zahn transfer Howland? Yes, thus Howland IS a political appointee of Zahn.

- Zahn promoted Adam Campo (another of the Malcontents) into the unfilled position of Internal Auditor and made Campo the Director of Internal Auditing - a new City department and a new Director's position. Did Zahn hire Campo? No. But did Zahn promote Campo and create a new position and department for him? Yes, thus Campo IS a political appointee of Zahn.

I could keep going but I think you should get my drift.

Zahn is trying to fool the people of Kenner into thinking that he is upholding the Charter by not firing these Malcontents and he is also trying to fool the people of Kenner by claiming that these Malcontents were not his appointees and he is powerless to do anything about their disrespect and contempt for their employers, the people of Kenner.

How does that old saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me...

What happens when you try to fool the people of Kenner everyday?




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When Is A Raise Not A Raise? When Ben Zahn Says So

Normally, I don't get to write much about Civil Service Board meetings, particularly Kenner Civil Service Board meetings, but last week's Kenner meeting was very interesting.

There were several items of interest at the meeting but today we will focus on a request from Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn for a 2% Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Kenner employees.

In the past, Kenner Mayors have sought simple salary increases for employees. Whether it was 2% of 5%, they were salary increases. But, not this time. Zahn's increase is a COLA.

While I have always maintained that Kenner's rank-and-file employees were, for the most part, underpaid, why call it a COLA when it's really a raise?

The answer is simple: many Kenner employees, particularly clerical employees, are longtime employees who are at or near the salary cap for their positions. A "raise" would push them over the cap.

However well intentioned, this is purely political on Zahn's part. With an election upcoming, Zahn is trying to spread the wealth and garner as many positive feelings as he can with the City of Kenner's workforce.

In short, he's buying votes.

As I said, I've always felt many Kenner employees were underpaid while the top of Kenner's food chain, the political appointees, were, for the most part, grossly overpaid.

That being said, a 2% COLA doesn't pass the smell test.

At a time when there is significant food deflation; gasoline prices are only slightly higher than this time last year; interest rates are low and the stock market is at record highs.

If you're on Social Security, the 2017 COLA was a meager .3%, yet despite the low inflation and positive economic news, Zahn wants to give Kenner employees a COLA of almost 7x what the Federal Government has allowed for people to get back the money that they've paid into a fund during their working years.

Look, if Kenner has the money, give the employees a raise - just don't try to justify it as a COLA when there is no real reason, other then political, to call it anything but a salary increase.

If employees are at the top of the salary range for their position, then they should get more training, more skills, or move up. Many clerical folks could and should move up to Assistant Directors or even Department Directors. They surely have the institutional knowledge required.

But, doing the right thing and promoting from within wouldn't allow Zahn the opportunity to bloat Kenner's payroll with his political appointees and multiple Mayoral Assistants who are nothing more than non-Kenner resident political operatives.

As always, with Ben Zahn, it's not about what's best for Kenner - it's what's best for Ben Zahn.