Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Q: How do you predict Nagin administration actions?

A: Make a joke:
When time permits, I'll try to find an updated donor list and make a prediction about what firm will get the contract to sign the checks. If such a contract were awarded, the Picayune and Clancy DuBos would almost certainly praise the mayor's wisdom in hiring an outside firm to sign the city's checks.

It hasn't happened yet, but we'll see:
In response to nearly every problem uncovered, city officials attribute their shortcomings to a lack of capacity owing to significant layoffs that followed Hurricane Katrina. In the sections of the audit reserved for City Hall reaction, officials say they are working to rehire accounting staff and consultants to rectify the problems. (my emphasis)

Nobody doubted that the city was so broke after the Federal Flood that it had no choice but to layoff most of its workforce. However, I soon realized that I couldn't continue to complain about federal failures unless I also wrote about the mayor's failure to put the city's limited resources where they would do the most good.

In the intervening two years, what's the mayor done to "stretch" every dollar to make "this recovery work"? In addition to deciding that increased garbage collection costs would somehow help the recovery (the mayor called it a "cornerstone"), our high-maintenance size queen of a mayor decided that amply-sized garbage cans were more important than an adequately sized accounting department. Funny thing is, the great big cans that the mayor couldn't live without were no bigger than the old ones.

I could add more, but I'll just refer you to We Saw That for a more detailed analysis of the audit.

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