It’s a question being quietly discussed and cussed in many Shreveport venues. “Quietly” in the sense that getting comments for publication is like finding hens teeth.
Shreveport Mayor Tyler has nominated, Erin McCarty, a well known newscaster, to fill one of two expired seats on the controversial Architectural/Engineering Selection Committee (A/E). McCarty is to replace Linda Biernacki, who was appointed by former Mayor Cedric Glover.
Biernacki has been under heavy criticism because of two reasons. The first is that her fire prevention company has major ties to the construction community in Shreveport. Additionally, Biernacki was a heavyweight in Tyler’s mayoral campaign.
The A/E makes recommendations to the mayor about which companies should receive no-bid professional services with the city. The ordinance provides that the Committee is to “assure the city selects qualified firms to provide it with architectural, engineering, interior design, construction management, land surveying.”
After posting a statement on the KEEL website, McCarty has declined to provide any further comments.
When she spoke to the Shreveport City Council on Monday, Feb. 12 at its Administrative Conference, McCarty stated that the A/E committee decisions should be made “fairly” and if not, that she “would not be part of the process.”
The construction community has expressed their displeasure with McCarty’s nomination. Publicly, they are quiet because they hope to get work from the City.
In large part this is the same group that made contributions to Tyler’s campaign in 2014. And they can again expect to be hit up to fund her re-election effort.
Likewise the media community is taking a “mum is the word” attitude on public comments on McCarty’s nomination. Off the record, most have questioned the appropriateness of McCarty accepting the nomination from the perspective of media integrity.
On the KEEL website McCarty says she advised Tyler that she “will continue to be critical of things going on at city hall” if she deemed appropriate.
Many city hall spectators view McCarty’s nomination as an election year ploy by Tyler. To date Tyler has declined to make any comments on this nomination.
McCarty has declined to answer questions about the economic impact of her nomination on her radio station group. Questions are also being raised about current and future advertising with her radio station group by those companies affected by the A/E recommendations. And the same is true concerning political ads that will be placed in the upcoming mayor’s race.
If McCarty considers herself to be a true media journalist versus a radio personality entertainer, it is difficult to accept her decision to accept the Mayor’s nomination. In a similar fashion, it’s hard for the Mayor to rationally defend the McCarty nomination.
McCarty will be the first media personality to serve on an on-going government committee under the mayor-council form of government. And if her nomination is not approved, that also will be a first.
The Shreveport City Council vote on McCarty is Feb. 27.
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