Now that Mayor Mitch Landrieu has solved New Orleans' really big problems such as removing dangerous monuments from public view, perhaps he will have time to turn his attention to more mundane matters such as, oh, say, street flooding. I know he didn’t have time to deal with this in the past, so he turned this problem over to his right-hand man, Cedric Grant, a man with no experience whatever in running a department so vital to the life of this city.
And this actually is the nub of the problem.
More than a fifth of all jobs within the embattled Sewerage & Water Board this year have…
It is not the pumps or the turbines; it is the administration. The Sewerage and Water Board has, since inception, been used a patronage position, a place where supporters of those in power can be rewarded with a position that promises an enormous salary and huge retirement benefits. (Cedric Grant, for instance, will be rewarded with a pension of more than $175,000 per year.) The S&WB has been treated as an unimportant appendage, a holding pen for politicians waiting to retire. It somehow went unnoticed that this was a critical department.
It is time for the mayor, who appoints the head of the S&WB, to be held accountable for the incompetent administrators and the disastrous consequences that flow from those appointments. While our bills are going to go up, all I see in crumbling infrastructure, flooding streets and politicians making excuses about why nothing is happening.
And the constant refrain of “but we don’t have the money” does not wash, either. Look at the drainage of Jefferson Parish. It seems to work fine, yet taxes there are lower than in New Orleans. While you are comparing Jefferson Parish to Orleans Parish, take a look the streets. Are they in the deplorable conditions that as ours are? I don’t think so.
It is not the money. It is inept management — and management starts at the top. Landrieu is worrying about statues and getting on national TV so he can move to Washington. I guess then he won’t have to worry about New Orleans flooding or the Sewerage and Water Board.