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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Lingering thoughts on the transition team

In the course of writing the Sunday article about the privately funded transition team established by Shreveport mayor Cedric Glover, I talked with every city council member about it. The opinions varied, as I noted in the article. Here are some of the highlights from some of those conversations that didn’t make it into print:

District A councilman Calvin Lester: Lester believes the transition team will insulate Glover from accusations that he makes decisions in a vacuum, but there will always be people who are going to claim backroom deals are going on. As for the transition team, “I don’t have a problem with it,” Lester said. “If the mayor wants to invite input from people he knows and trusts, a cross-section of people from the city to give him information, I think that’s probably a good thing. I think it shows he’s a leader that’s not afraid of getting support and bouncing things off people. Every mayor, every executive, regardless of whether they’re in government or business has a kitchen cabinet of people they bounce things off. At the end of the day I’m very confident Mayor Glover will pick good people.”

District B councilman Monty Walford: Walford was supportive of the idea of a transition team and did not question how it operates. “I think Cedric has put together a very good team. I think it’s an excellent idea to screen the applications. I also think the mayor is very capable of doing that. He will come to us to confirm who he wants to hire.” Walford said he has not been following “the workings” of the transition team but “that really is up to Cedric. How that committee works … is entirely up to him.”

District F councilman Joe Shyne: Shyne served on the Shreveport City Council with transition team co-chair Dee Peterson and has known co-chair Helen Godfrey-Smith for years. “All of these are quality people who are truly concerned about the city and about the quality of life and the quality of individuals who are in charge of making day-to-day decisions,” he said. “I really think the mayor put together a good transitional team.” Shyne questioned why Glover would keep the information about the transition team private but stopped short of calling it a bad idea, even though Shyne said he would opt for public disclosure if he was in the same situation. “My position is this: I told him, ‘Mr. Mayor, whoever you select on your transitional team or on your administrative team is alright with me because you’re the one who has to work with them. If I have a problem with them, I’ll let you know.”


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