When Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome celebrated the release of her transition team's report Wednesday, two of the committees’ suggestions were not included — an alternate take on St. George incorporation and whether to explore installing a city manager.
The mayor stands alone at the top of Baton Rouge government. Broome's organizational structure team looked at other municipalities with a city manager hired by the local council. Co-chair Christel Slaughter said the group didn't necessarily recommend a change, but did weigh the pros and cons of installing a city manager.
"You could go to something like that and maybe get someone with really good experience in creating efficiencies," Slaughter said.
At the same time, it may not be wise to implement a new government system in the short term, she continued. Voters made their choice for mayor based on the existing rules and would need time to learn about a new system.
Slaughter did not provide the actual report Thursday, nor was it posted to the city-parish web site with the rest of the reports, despite indications from transition team leadership that they would do so.
The business, community and civic leaders on Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's handpick…
Slaughter and her co-chair Dennis Blunt both said they thought the omission was a genuine mistake. Raymond Jetson, one of the leaders of the entire transition team said they had not intended to hold back any reports, and that some documents were missing due to "human error."
Still, he emphasized that the documents are merely suggestions, and while the mayor's office didn't direct people what to write, she also isn't beholden to act on their advice.
"(The findings) represent the thinking of the citizens who were involved in writing that report," Jetson said.
The other document left out of the public report concerned future attempts to incorporate St. George. The proposed city is discussed in the existing report through a lengthy discussion of race relations and segregation. The missing report arrives at the same conclusion — that St. George should be defeated — and recommends many of the same avenues for doing so, explained co-chair Mary Olive Pierson.
However, she said, her group’s report emphasized the financial drain that an incorporation of St. George would have on the parish at large and on its own citizens in making the case for why creating the new city would be a bad idea.
Transition team leaders Donna Fraiche and Chris Tyson directed questions to the mayor-president's office, which did not return a request for comment.
Representatives in the Parish Attorney's Office have repeatedly said they are still working on a public records request The Advocate filed February 21 for all of the reports from Broome's transition committees.