If there is one man in St. Tammany Parish who is unequivocally happy about the turmoil surrounding District Attorney Walter Reed, it has to be Roy Burns, who is running for Reed’s seat.
A grinning Burns showed up on the courthouse steps the day that Reed announced to his staff that he would not seek his sixth term, and Burns has also issued two radio ads urging voters to see him as the non-establishment candidate.
On Sunday, Burns decided to do a little bridge-building with the DA’s office. But instead of reaching out to Reed, instead he published a letter on his Facebook page, seeking to allay any concerns on the part of the DA’s staff that there would be a mass purge should Burns win the November election.
“Most of you will be retained,” Burns wrote in the letter. “I am not going to ask you to believe that there will not be some change, but I suggest that change will be in the positions of power, not among those who actually make the office work.”
Burns even promised that under him, life would be better in for employees of the office.
“For too long the employees of the office have been treated like second-class citizens,” he wrote in the letter. “Those days are over, and you will be treated with respect.”
Burns and two other candidates — St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Trainor and Slidell attorney Alan Black — have announced their intentions to run for the office in Nov. 4. Reed announced earlier this month that he wouldn’t run for a sixth term.
Reed has not publicly endorsed any of the three candidates, but a source told The New Orleans Advocate that he referred to Trainor and Black as “friends” in a meeting with staff where he announced he would not seek re-election.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter @faimon.