John Settle.jpg

John came to Shreveport in January of 1977 when he was transferred to Barksdale AFB.

He’s been active in Shreveport politics since deciding to make Shreveport his home.

John practiced law for 40 years and he now monitors local politics. He regularly attends Shreveport City Council and Caddo Parish Commission meetings.

John is published weekly in The Inquisitor, bi-monthly in The Forum News, and frequently in the Shreveport Times.

He enjoys addressing civic groups on local government issues and elections.

 

PUBLIC DOLLARS AND ATTORNEYS SERVING AS POLITICAL APPOINTEES

The city of Shreveport has many appointees on various boards, commissions and authorities.

These include the Property Standards Board, the Airport Authority, the Port, The MPC and others.

Attorneys are sometimes appointed to these governmental entities.

Questions have risen over litigation filed by attorney appointees that cost the city moneys to defend.

For discussion purposes, assume:

1. ABC is a lawyer in the private practice of law in Shreveport

2. ABC is an appointee to a Shreveport board/committee/authority.

3. XYZ is a client of ABC.

4. ABC sues the city of Shreveport on behalf of XYZ.

5. The lawsuit does not involve any issues dealt with on the board that ABC serves on.

6. The city of Shreveport spends public dollars on another private attorney to defend the XYZ litigation.

Query: Is it consistent with good government practices to have attorneys on appointed boards who file private litigation against the appointing government entity?

Query: Is the benefit of ABC’s service on the appointed board negated by the XYZ litigation?

Although factually different, the relationship of public dollars, private attorneys and attorney appointees raises another question. If an attorney is already being paid to private legal services for the city, should the attorney also be appointed to a city board?

Shreveport has hundreds of attorneys. And thousands of private citizens both qualified and willing to serve on boards.

Each of these boards has legal counsel. An attorney board member is not needed on a city board for his legal knowledge.

Would it be better to “spread the wealth” when it comes to appointees on boards?

Nothing against attorney board members, but do we need to have an attorney appointee who costs the city money in his private practice of law?

And do we need attorney board appointees who do legal work for the city in their private practice of law?

These inquiries are just that. Talking points.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THIS AUTHOR IS JUST THE MESSENGER.

FOLLOW UP ON SHREVEPORT FINANCES/AUDIT COLUMN

TO ALL SETTLETALK READERS