[StBernard] City Workers Told To Take Part In Democratic Event

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Oct 21 20:04:17 EDT 2008

City Workers Told To Take Part In Democratic Event
New Orleans City Hall Spokesman: City Is Doing Nothing Wrong
updated 4:15 p.m. CT, Tues., Oct. 21, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Republican leaders are crying foul over a New Orleans
official's e-mail to city workers that encourages them to participate in a
Democratic campaign event. A City Hall representative said all of that is
true and the city is doing nothing wrong.

Outside New Orleans City Hall, the signs are up to inform people about where
to go for early voting.

Anticipating a high voter turnout, state Democratic Party leaders are
holding a statewide bus tour trying to rally support for Democratic
presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

"Sen. Obama will bring the change we need to Louisiana," an e-mail sent out
by the party said.

Mayor Ray Nagin's director of public avocacy, Clarice Kirkland, sent an
e-mail on Monday morning, using a taxpayer-funded e-mail account, asking for
City Hall workers to volunteer for the rally.

"It sure doesn't pass the smell test," said former New Orleans City
Councilman Jay Batt, who now heads up the Orleans Parish Republican Party.

"When you work at City Hall, it's for the taxpayers, not the Democrats or
the Republicans, but for the taxpayers, the people," Batt said.

Louisiana GOP leader Roger Villere agreed: "I think it is shady or illegal
in a way and it's using public resources, public money, public time, a
public building and a public email system for something that's partisan

James Ross, a City Hall spokesman said that's not true: "The employee sent
the information to recruit unclassified employees. All employees involved
have been counseled by their supervisors and reminded about the
inappropriate use of public equipment."

"I don't buy that," said Villere.

"I would have Inspector General Bob Cerasoli take a look at this," said

Some state Democrats said the e-mail is pushing the envelope.

"We have so much to lose when it comes to federal dollars, I wouldn't want
any City Hall workers to rally a group for either presidential candidate,"
said state Rep. Walker Hines, D-District 95.

The mayor was a Democratic delegate representing louisiana at the Democratic
National Conference in Denver, and every member of the New Orleans City
Council is a Democrat.

The bus tour sponsored by the state Democratic Party will make stops
statewide throughout the week.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27289038/

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