Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mayor Yenni Now Targetting Kenner Councilman Carroll

Not content with launching personal attacks and setting his political consultant loose on me and a private citizens group, Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni is also targeting another person who has disagreed with the Mayor’s policies: Kenner District 1 Councilman Gregory Carroll.

Mayor Yenni, who as we’ve already reported, has 6 city vehicles at his disposal, is now trying to make an issue of Councilman Carroll’s use of city vehicle to commute to his day job in Orleans Parish.
After receiving complaints from Kenner residents about the expanded use of take-home vehicles by city employees and the council, several years ago the City Council approved a plan to provide themselves with a $500 per month auto allowance or a city vehicle.

In granting themselves a $500 monthly stipend, the Council put no limitations or restrictions upon themselves. They are free to drive their personal cars wherever and whenever they wish, even if they don’t log enough miles for you and I to justify $500 per month in gas and other auto-related expenses.
In fact, the $500 per month auto allowance is essentially income that the councilmembers can use for anything they want whether it’s a shopping spree, a trip to the casino or a lease payment on a Mercedes-Benz. The same is true for Mayor Yenni's Political Appointees and their auto allowances. There are no mileage logs or any justification for the auto allowances by either the Council or the Mayor.

Councilman Carroll opted for a city vehicle instead of the $500 monthly payments.
“I didn’t feel right taking a cash payment and I believe this actually saves Kenner residents money,” Councilman Carroll said.

It should also be noted that when Councilman Carroll requested a city vehicle, Mayor Yenni gave him a 1999 model, which was then oldest vehicle in Kenner’s fleet.
As I wrote the other day, Mayor Yenni  pats himself on the back by publicly proclaiming that he doesn’t receive an auto allowance but he has 6 vehicles available for his personal use including:

1). A 2006 Ford Expedition

2). A 2003 Ford Crown Victoria

3). A 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck

4). A 2006 Ford Excursion

5). A 2010 Ford Crown Victoria


6). The 1992 Chevy Suburban that was his uncle’s Jefferson Parish vehicle
All 6 are maintained, fueled and insured by Kenner taxpayers.

Fox 8 ran a story Tuesday night about Councilman Carroll’s use of a city vehicle and Mayor Yenni’s issue with driving it to and from Orleans Parish.

In the Fox 8 story, Mayor Yenni was interviewed in his office sitting on a rocking chair. Councilman Carroll, well he was ambushed by a reporter lying in wait for him to leave his job and walk to his car.
The obvious question is: Mayor Yenni has the time in his schedule to sit down with a TV reporter for a leisurely interview (he was sitting in a rocking chair!) but he can’t pick up the phone and call an elected official who represents Kenner residents?

Perhaps if Mayor Yenni wasn’t doing 2-a-days at the Gym, binge-eating  and sitting around with his political consultant making up fake stories for the media to chase to attack anyone who disagrees with him, Yenni might have more time to actually converse with a Councilman.

Mayor Yenni is holding “Listening Sessions” to improve Kenner’s political climate. How about picking up the phone next time Mayor Yenni and calling a Councilman instead of alerting the media? That might help improve Kenner’s political climate.
The story also said that Mayor Yenni was unaware that Councilman Carroll used the car to commute to Orleans Parish for his job, and Yenni was not aware of any money was deducted from Councilman Carroll’s paycheck for the personal use of the vehicle.

There are several questionable references in that comment.
First, how does Mayor Yenni NOT know that Councilman Carroll works in Orleans Parish. I know it. I also know what each of the other councilmembers do for a living too – the ones who work anyway. I’m sure Mayor Yenni does too. Why the Fox 8 reporter didn’t question Yenni about that tidbit, is a mystery.

So, what does Councilman Carroll do in his day-job in Orleans Parish? Carroll helps prisoners gain employment in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Last time I looked, Kenner was in Jefferson Parish.
"’I had an opportunity to work with a population that is important to me and dear to me, not only for the City of New Orleans but for the City of Kenner," says Councilman Carroll.

Carroll says he believes his job with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office as an employment specialist, benefits the City of Kenner.

His job description is to assist probation and parolees.”

Second, Mayor Yenni could have contacted the Finance Department and asked them to verify if the proper amount of money or if any money was deducted from Councilman Carroll’s check. In fact, Yenni should have taken this step BEFORE inferring to the Fox 8 reporter that Councilman Carroll didn’t have any money deducted from his check.
According to Councilman Carroll, money has been deducted from his check for the vehicle use.

Now, I have not personally verified this. I guess I could file a Public Records Request but since the two that I’ve filed in the last year were characterized by Mayor Yenni’s political consultant as “mountains”, that might not be such a good idea.
And how far is Councilman Carroll’s commute that is driven in a City of Kenner vehicle with city gas? According to Councilman Carroll, 13 miles roundtrip daily. 65 miles a week. 260 miles per month.

Even if the mileage estimate is on the low end and it was 20 miles roundtrip, that's still only 100 miles a week and still far less then the mileage some city employees put on their take-home vehicles when they reside outside of Jefferson Parish.

I don’t know how many miles per gallon Councilman Carroll’s 1999 city vehicle gets but, 260 miles a month probably doesn’t even cost City of Kenner residents a tankful of gas.
Has anyone checked Mayor Yenni’s taxes to see if he has paid for the personal use and gas, and the personal portion of the maintenance and insurance on the 6 vehicles Yenni uses?

Yenni also claims that the city had to pay $2,000 in maintenance for the 14-year-old vehicle assigned to Councilman Carroll.
So, is the Mayor saying that the vehicle wouldn’t have been maintained if it was still sitting in a parking lot and not assigned to Councilman Carroll?

Even at $2,000 in maintenance, that’s still less than what WWL-TV said Mayor Yenni spent in city money to rehab his uncle’s old SUV, one of the 6 vehicles that Yenni drives.
If you take the $2,000 in maintenance and adding in the cost of gas, Councilman Carroll is still saving Kenner taxpayers money by not taking the $500 per month ($6,000 per year) allotted to Kenner City Councilmen.

I know that Mayor Yenni might not be good at Math but, the City’s Finance Director earns over $110,000 per year (he too, gets a $500 per month auto allowance) and he should be able to tell Yenni that, any way you slice it, the money spent for this vehicle is still less than what Councilman Carroll would receive if he opted for the $6,000 per year payment his fellow councilmembers receive.
Shouldn’t Mayor Yenni applaud a Councilman that is SAVING Kenner residents money? Shouldn’t the goal of Mayor Yenni and the Council be to save Kenner taxpayer dollars?

In addition, last year, Mayor Yenni expanded the city’s auto and cell phone allowances to include more Political Appointees and gave his Political Appointees even larger allowances then they previously received.  The Mayor’s Political Appointees also get auto allowances of $300 – 500 per month and all they do is commute back and forth from their homes to Kenner City Hall. If Mayor Yenni says that Councilman Carroll’s commute constitutes personal use, doesn’t that also apply to the Mayor and his political appointees?
In fact, Mayor Yenni’s secretaries get auto and cell phone allowances courtesy of City of Kenner taxpayers.

On top of that, some Kenner employees have take-home vehicles and they don’t even live in Jefferson Parish, let alone in Kenner. What does their gas, maintenance and insurance cost city taxpayers and is money deducted from their checks for the personal use and commute from their homes in other parishes to Kenner City Hall?
 So, why all the fuss about Councilman Carroll’s vehicle?

It’s politics as usual in YenniVille.
Councilman Carroll opposed Mayor Yenni’s plan to double property taxes; he opposed Mayor Yenni’s plan to close playgrounds in his districts; he opposed Mayor Yenni on Yenni’s 2030 Plan and adding more debt to Kenner taxpayers; and he’s standing in the way of Yenni’s plan to sell several streets in District 1 to the East Jefferson Levee District, among other issues that the two disagree on.

This is just political payback – the kind of schoolyard bullying that Yenni and his political consultant engage in daily to attempt to discredit and intimidate anyone who dares to disagree with the great Mike Yenni.
Mayor Yenni attacked District 5 Councilman Kent Denapolis when Denapolis was against Mayor Yenni’s plan to double property taxes.

Yenni has attacked District 2 Councilman Joe Stagni in retaliation for Stagni’s independent thinking.
Yenni and his consultant have also attacked private citizens and a citizens group that is opposed to some of Yenni’s ideas. You and I have seen that firsthand.

And now, Mayor Yenni is attacking Councilman Carroll.
If he wasn’t trying to intimidate Councilman Carroll, why didn’t Yenni have the common courtesy to discuss this with the Councilman in private? Why did Yenni “expose” this in the media instead of having a simple conversation with the Councilman?

So, in a nutshell, Councilman Carroll was driving the oldest vehicle in Kenner’s fleet (until Mayor Yenni miraculously recovered his uncle’s old SUV from mothballs); the vehicle was parked and not doing any one any good; the city was paying for its maintenance anyway; he’s saving Kenner residents money;  and his day job is helping our community?
And Mayor Yenni thinks this is a bad thing?

Yeah, and Mayor Yenni says that I’m the ‘crazy’ one?