Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ethics Questions Dog Kenner City Councilman

It has been a very inauspicious first year for Kenner District 2 Councilman Mike Sigur.

In addition to doing nothing for his District except riding the coattails of his predecessor, Joe Stagni, and claiming credit for projects initiated by Stagni, Sigur has been plagued by continuous ethics issues and questionable judgement.

Sigur, who ironically is my City Councilman, is a member of Mayor Mike Yenni’s “Consensus Team”. His  campaign was managed by the equally ethically challenged Greg Buisson. Since beginning his campaign and taking office, Sigur has suffered a series of missteps, bouts of verbal diarrhea, and ridiculously indefensible statements every time he pops his head out from under Yenni’s skirt.

But ethical questions, rumors of impropriety and statements that have proven to be false are nothing new for Sigur and date back years prior to his taking office.

Now the din from the multitude of ethics questions surrounding Sigur is growing louder even as Sigur continues to defend his indefensible actions and statements.

Sigur, who was appointed to the Kenner City Council in 2014 after his runoff opponent dropped out of the race, was never truly elected to the Council, something he shares in common with the majority of Yenni’s “Consensus Team”.

Despite raising tens of thousands of dollars from Yenni’s contractor friends, while his opponents were largely self-funded amd a huge victory by Yenni and outspending his opponents 3-1, Sigur couldn’t even manage to garner 50.1% of the primary vote.

Prior to the campaign, rumors swirled about Sigur’s involvement in missing bathroom tile that managed to escape the Kenner Police Headquarters and wind up in Sigur’s home.

During Yenni’s failed attempt to double property taxes, Sigur was a leading proponent. However, in campaign flyers Sigur maintained that he was opposed to new taxes. He even had the audacity to send out recorded calls to voters in District 2 where he continued his attempt to deceive them. When photos proving that Sigur had yard signs supporting Yenni’s flawed tax scheme, Sigur back peddled and claimed that, he supported the tax increases but only for the Police Department.

Yet another Sigur lie.

After his appointment, and before he took office, I had a conversation with the District 2 Council Aide to Councilman Stagni, who happens to be Sigur’s wife. In addition to being a very nice woman and extremely helpful to constituents, Sigur’s wife was also more than competent and over qualified for the position of Council Aide.

I asked Mrs. Sigur if she planned to stay on as Council Aide to her husband and if it would be awkward. She expressed a desire to continue serving the residents of District 2 and said her remaining had already been cleared by the Yenni Administration and the State Attorney General.

Shortly after, Sigur asked for an opinion from the State AG regarding his wife’s continued employment. The letter seeking the opinion was crafted by one of Yenni’s City Attorneys expressly to remove Sigur’s wife from her position.

Not long after, Mrs. Sigur was terminated from her position as District 2 Council Aide.

So, in a matter of months and before he even took office, Councilman Sigur lied to the people of Kenner and to his own wife.

While the people of Kenner are used to their elected officials lying to their faces, Sigur’s arrogance takes lying to another level.

Recently, Sigur has been back in the news with more ethical questions, flawed statements, and outright lies.

Despite KPD rules regarding Reserve Officers and minimum requirements for obtaining lucrative detail work and his position on the City Council, Sigur has earned tens of thousands of dollars from paid details at Kenner Wal-Mart stores.

While those details should have gone to deserving KPD officers seeking extra income from the cushy detail, according to KPD Chief Glaser, Sigur was one of the select few “go-to” guys who would fill-in.

"He's one of the 3, 4 or 5 these guys call," Glaser said. "So you'll see he may only have one or two days a week, but he may work eight shifts. That's all people calling him saying 'can you cover for me.'"

Excuse me Chief Glaser but $100k is a lot of “fill-in” work.

In another flawed Attorney General opinion (is there any other kind when Kenner is involved?), the AG has opined that, despite Sigur voting on KPD budgetary matters and the inherent conflict and despite the fact that Sigur isn’t required to follow the rules laid out by his friend, Chief Glaser, there is no conflict of interest and Sigur can continue stealing money from KPD Officers while he acts as a glorified greeter at Wal-Mart earning $35/hr.

Some, including Rafael Goyeneche from the Metropolitan Crime Commission, still see a conflict, even if Glaser and Sigur don’t.

In addition to the lucrative pay for basically standing around, Sigur also receives a uniform stipend, paid medical insurance, short and long-term disability, and numerous other benefits.

Sigur works under a City Contract whereby Wal-Mart pays the City of Kenner and the City compensates Sigur. The City receives $47.50/hour and Sigur receives $35.50/hour.

Since this is “passed-thru” the City and included on Sigur’s Council paycheck, taxes are withheld from sigur’s detail work. Thus, City of Kenner taxpayers also are on the hook for this added cost.

In a letter to the State Ethics Board, which is truly an oxymoron, Sigur sought an opinion regarding continuing the Reserve detail work while also being a sitting Councilman.

One problem though: Sigur said that he wanted to do “volunteer” Reserve work, not paid detail work.

This same letter was also sent to the AG’s Office and used in their flawed opinion. The Attorney General has referred the matter to its Criminal Division for review. Let’s hope that they consider all the evidence and not just what Sigur tells them.

So, Sigur lied to the State Ethics Board and the Attorney General’s Office.

It is also alleged that, despite receiving a $500/month auto allowance afforded to Kenner City Councilmen, Sigur also has access to a takehome KPD vehicle and free gas and maintenance.

Yet, Sigur finds nothing wrong with any of this.

"In my mind, and the average person's mind, I'm not getting paid by the city. I'm getting paid by Wal-Mart. What difference does it make if it's passed through? There is no other cost," Sigur said. "I am not working any more hours for the city than what I'm paid as a councilman."

Yet, according to Chief Glaser, the average KPD Officer or even other Reserve Officers, couldn’t work the hours that Sigur has worked but we are led to believe by Glaser that this was simply an oversight.

Under Glaser’s “new” policy instituted in November after questions arose about Sigur’s continued Wal-Mart details after his election, Reserve Officers may not work more than 40 hours per month on details without written authorization.

According to Ben Myers at, Sigur was paid for working at least 115 hours in December, January and February, including 51 in February. Glaser said he did not know whether Sigur is complying with the new policy.

So, despite proof and, obviously, not receiving written authorization from Glaser, the Chief “did not know” if Sigur followed the policy.

Another lapse of judgement by Sigur occurred at Kenner’s Italian Heritage Fesival last month.

The festival, led by former Police Chief Nick Congemi (who happens to be current Chief Glaser’s father-in-law), received work from a company owned by Sigur and provided Sigur’s company with a corporate sponsorship.

The Festival employs Kenner Officers to provide crowd control and a presence at the Festival.

Yes, you guessed it, Sigur was one of those paid to attend the Festival.

The bottom line is that Mike Sigur is a pathological liar who has misled the people of Kenner, the people of District 2, the news media, the State Ethics Board and the Attorney General’s Office.

How many more lies will he tell in the next 3 years?