Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sniff… Sniff…

This smells funny:

Ceeon Quiett, who succeeded Forman as Nagin's communications director, would not answer direct questions about the nature of Goodson's duties. She stated flatly in an e-mail that "city officials do not have bodyguards or drivers."

Via e-mail, Quiett also declined to answer a number of specific questions, instead offering a response suggesting that asking questions about payments to city contractors slows the city's progress: "Issues relating to former employees and disgruntled vendors does nothing to advance our recovery mission," she wrote. "Further, having our one newspaper focus on rumors and innuendo also does not help citizens seeking critical information to rebuild their lives."
If the Mayor’s office feels the Times-Picayune is wasting its time investigating why a city official’s bodyguard/driver – a position which the Mayor’s spokesperson flat out stated “city officials do not have” – received more taxpayers’ money in salary than the city’s Police Superintendent, then it seems a straight answer would clear everything up. Refusing to answer “direct questions about the nature of Goodson's duties,” on the other hand, would force the paper to continue working to find answers rather than focusing on ways “to advance our recovery mission.”

Suggesting what stories the media should do is not the role of the Mayor’s communications director. It is also a fallacy to suggest that the Times-Picayune can not cover information critical for citizens to rebuild their lives *as well as* issues relating to former employees and disgruntled vendors.

I wonder how the Mayor’s office feels about the Times-Picayune’s continued practice of dedicating an entire section to sports. Basketball box scores aren’t necessarily critical for citizens to rebuild their lives.

They did, however, get rid of the weekly Food Section. Sorry, Jeffery.

This article and Gordon Russell’s other articles – the yacht story, the camera contract change, the state stopping all camera sales – seem to be leading somewhere. We even got a cliffhanger this time:
Early last year, Goodson also played a role in NetMethods' installation of 58 wireless surveillance cameras in Baton Rouge, St. Pierre said. As the Baton Rouge system was being deployed, around March 2006, Goodson was being paid for 40-hour work weeks by New Orleans taxpayers, city invoices show. In fact, the invoices show, Goodson billed for 40-hour weeks from January until his departure in September.

In response to an e-mail asking for an explanation of that discrepancy, St. Pierre replied: "Your information as to the timing of any potentially relevant work in connection with the BR camera network is inaccurate, as are the other implications in your e-mail."

He did not reply to a follow-up asking precisely when Goodson did the Baton Rouge work.
I can’t wait until the next episode. I’ll tune in to American Zombie for a preview.

1 comment:

carmen said...

"If the Mayor’s office feels the Times-Picayune is wasting its time investigating why a city official’s bodyguard/driver – a position which the Mayor’s spokesperson flat out stated 'city officials do not have' – received more taxpayers’ money in salary than the city’s Police Superintendent, then it seems a straight answer would clear everything up. Refusing to answer 'direct questions about the nature of Goodson's duties,' on the other hand, would force the paper to continue working to find answers rather than focusing on ways 'to advance our recovery mission.' "

Amen, brother. I had the same hit-in-the-gut reaction at reading Quiett's comments. If she wants to obstruct justice, having not been implicated in the original mess, she doesn't know who's capable of reading the paper around here.