- Elliott Stonecipher
- Elliott Stonecipher
June 5, 2016
It is certainly true that the Caddo Parish Commission self-pay scandal, more that two decades old, is the stuff of non-fiction books and documentary films. Now, a valued, primary source reveals more of its signature abuse of power.
According to the vigorous assertion of a Commission attorney, the entire matter of CPERS and other Commissioner self-pay will be resolved “in November.”
How is that for certitude in rigging the supposedly unriggable? More specifically, Commission bad actors will preserve, if not increase, their (illegal) self-pay with Caddo Parish Home Rule Charter (HRC) amendments. The vote on these would be in November, on the presidential election ballot. Riggers “know” that particular turnout somehow ices their score.
Such a plan, oh by the way, would also mean my lawsuit against the Commission* would likewise be “resolved.” How can a Commission attorney know that … when neither I nor my attorney do? How can my lawsuit be finally litigated on a schedule dictated to the court byCommission malefactors?
Yes, this scandal has crossed over into what many offenders believe is pay-dirt. Now, a citizen committee, run by Commission offenders, works to devise self-pay-protection amendments to our HRC. Commissioners will approve said protections – with some thus voting on their own (illegal) self-pay.
This new committee has an impressive-sounding name – the “Quadrennial Charter Review Committee 2016 – but no matter how spiffy the words, nothing can hide its actual role. Committee members will be led to create the appearance that illegal is legal, and wrong is right.
Although the Commission website is supposed to provide the Minutes of these committee meetings, as I write this, no Minutes for the first four meetings are yet available. I obtained them by written request.
From the jump, here are house-sized violations of process, and, I will bet, law. Four meetings deep into their work, these bells cannot be unrung:
1. The lone Commissioner on the committee – and I do not believe ANY Commissioner can legally / ethically be a member in this instance – is Matthew Linn, a CPERS recipient and prime defender of self-pay for Commissioners, regardless the type, shape, color / tint, size / amount, purpose or method of same.
2. For the first time in my decades of experience with many, many such groups, two of thevoting members of the group are the Caddo Commission Administrator (and CPERS recipient) Woody Wilson, and Caddo Commission Parish Attorney Donna Frazier. Wilson should be nowhere near this, and no staff members should be voting, of course.
3. A stunning entry in the Official Minutes of one meeting is the following “anything goes” rule for the committee, one which purely fits the history of this nightmare:
“There was a brief discussion of rules and what process might be followed during the review process. … Mr. Frazier pointed out that there are no specific guidelines on how the Charter is reviewed (emphasis mine), it is that it be reviewed by a committee every four years (sic).”
4. Then, consider these features:“It was moved by Mr. Linn, and seconded by Dr. Wilson, to move forward without any changes to Section 3.05. Compensation. due to pending legal discussion.”
The two who “moved” and “seconded” are two committee members who have CPERS pay on the line, in their accounts. Can there be a more dramatic conflict of interest? For obvious reasons, neither should be at all involved in this.
Too, the reference to “pending legal discussion” is pure excrement. There is no pending legal discussion. Such refers to my lawsuit against the Commission, which they well know is dead in the water. They also know why and how.
What Commission doers have thus achieved took consummate rigging, with parish officials in all branches of government playing critical roles. Lest we forget, included in their cover-up and stonewalling is careful ignorance of two official reports against all of this by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.
(I cannot shake Dr. King’s apt and powerful warning: “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”)
To those who only want this ugly chapter in Caddo Parish over and behind us, all of this marks the beginning of the end. But, for those in pursuit of law and justice, it likely marks the end of the beginning.
( … continuing … )
* Since March 2014, I have written and online-published 46 articles about corruption within the Caddo Parish Commission. The articles written since January 2015 may be read on RealShreveport.com. Click first on “CPERS Timeline,” then begin reading the first article at the bottom of Page 2. Articles are chronologically arranged from there, forward.