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Glover's lack of response induces little confidence

Months after the incidents came to light, the only question out of many swirling around a percolating corruption probe into Shreveport’s City Hall that has yet to have been fully answered is whether “accountability” is in the lexicon of Mayor Cedric Glover. That has been answered as an emphatic “no," now buttressed by a largely useless report which is long on stating the obvious and short on accepting responsibility and making changes.

The actions taken by Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator already has netted three employee arrests and another, former supervisor of inspectors Wavey Lester, resignation under duress. Lester, a holdover from former Mayor Keith Hightower’s administration reappointed by Glover, is related to one arrested in the alleged scheme to pay contractors for shoddy, fraudulent, or nonexistent work, and also to city Councilman Calvin Lester. The investigation subsequently spread to the Queensborough Neighborhood Association which is lead by Caddo School Board member Lola May.

Most stunning was that warning signals flashed for years that something was wrong while even the most basic due diligence was being neglected. Director of the department involved, Community Development, Bonnie Moore, also an appointee held over from the Hightower regime, revealed that the program under question did not even vet the presumed “contractors” receiving money to see if they had a contractor license – a process that takes seconds on the Internet. Direct invitations to corrupt actions were issued as a result of the department only a few years ago prohibiting nepotistic transactions – and then allowing those who had been participating such as Wavey Lester’s relative to continue.

This is not the first controversy this decade with the department with Moore’s leadership. Under Hightower, a loan program went bad with seeming political favoritism playing a role in decisions made in Moore’s department. Instead of corrective action, the program simply was stopped.

And Glover since his taking the helm of the city appeared to evince the attitude that he kept the area out of mind, nothing bad could be happening there. He was taken by surprise when Prator launched the investigation months ago, once it started his underlings instead of being cooperative and proactive expressed bafflement over or even passive resistance (such as charging sheriff’s investigators hundreds of dollars for city documents related to the probe before the arrests) to it, and Glover initially defended city actions before nudging Lester to resign.

This leads to some very curious, unanswered questions that only silent Glover can resolve:

  • Why was Moore kept on, despite her record and glacial speed in discovering and trying to address problems in the department?

  • Why were even the simplest procedural changes, such as vetting the status of contractors, never implemented despite Moore’s perception of problems?

  • Why was Wavey Lester kept on, and did it have anything to do with his relations with Councilmen Lester and the contractor?

  • What role did the Fair Share program have to do with the improprieties – the program that mandates that the city identify businesses owned by the “disadvantaged,” such as the arrested contractors who are all racial minorities thereby qualifying their firms and give them assistance to make them as competitive as possible in winning city contracts?

  • Why did the city not begin an investigation itself as it was clear even years ago that some kind of problem was emerging about this program?
    Where was the city auditor Leanis Graham in studying these programs through which millions of dollars passed?

  • What is the city’s relationship with the Queensborough Neighborhood Association, with details about the money that flowed from the city to the organization and whether May’s position had anything to do with that flow of funds?

    Glover has done nothing to address any of these questions. They still need answering because leaving them unresolved both sends to signal that a coverup is in the works to hide far more extensive corruption and/or that the Glover Administration cannot reflect upon or own up to mistakes which gives the impression that it is incapable of running the city in the efficient and ethical fashion that its citizens deserve.

    Firing Moore, who has proven incapable and never would be retained had something like this come to light in the private sector, would be a first good step. Then Glover needs to be honest, even if that means heavy self-criticism, and show some leadership in addressing these concerns. Doing neither risks indicating to the citizenry he is incapable of achieving either.
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