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City councilman admonished for meddling

Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 4:19 pm

In his three months as a Louisiana City Councilman, Tim Carter has closely scrutinized city policies, ordinances and machinations.
At the Monday, July 14 meeting, city officials admonished Carter for being too hands-on and reminded him that city law forbids him from acting on day-to-day matters.
In particular, Carter was called on the carpet for telling Fire Department Truck Driver Kelly Henry that his pay structure was going to be altered and for scrutinizing his maintenance of the city’s fire hall.
Mayor Bart Niedner said he had received numerous complaints from city employees in recent weeks that Carter was meddling in their day-to-day business.
“It’s beyond a level of interference,” Niedner said. “I don’t want city employees feeling harassed. No one else is involved as much as you are on a daily administrative basis. Your job is to develop policy, not police every detail.”
Carter said he had spoken to Henry in front of Fire Chief Mike Lesley, per city protocol. But Lesley said Carter had “stepped out of line,” with his scrutiny.
New Councilman Jeff Guay agreed with Niedner and Lesley.
“We are council people, not employees,” Guay said, reminding Carter that council members are not allowed to directly interfere with city workers.
Carter said he had the right to make comments on specific things he sees in the city, just like residents do on the city’s website.
Niedner agreed that was true, but said Carter needs to remember that as a member of the council, his comments carry a different weight.
In the end, Niedner said Carter needs to direct his concerns through the mayor’s office and City Administrator Bob Jenne.
“I get your message loud and clear,” Carter said, adding he would direct his comments to Jenne in the future.