Why is the Mayor Always Playing from Behind?
Unlike a lot of folks, I don't really want to, or like beating up on Mayor Adrian Perkins. Personally, I really like Adrian. And, beyond that, there are some things that he's done that I really, really like. His hiring of Keith Hanson was brilliant. Those two have come up with some awesome things to improve everything from the education of kids to making sure your water bill is accurate to making the full city budget readily available for the public. It's awesome! Plus, he's done some really cool, community enhancing things.
So to say Adrian has done nothing positive since taking over as Mayor is just incorrect. But, with all that said, he definitely has a LOT of room for improvement. And here's my major problem with Perkins and his office right now: it's not necessarily what they do, it's how they handle situations.
To quote the Fonz, Henry Winkler, "Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” And guess what, if you don't tell people what's going on, they're just going to assume that you're up to no good.
For instance, the recent issue with sewage being pumped into the Red River. Stuff like this happens. They contacted the proper people, started working on a fix...all the things you're supposed to do. The problem is they didn't tell anybody about it! This issue was going on for weeks before they ever said a peep about it! That's my problem with all this.
You have citizens affected by this. You have local waterways that people use for multiple purposes being affected by this. It truly is a potentially dangerous and deadly situation...and it took them over a week to say anything!
From information I've received from multiple sources, the City was aware of the issue on June 5th or 6th. Then when work began, they just slapped a sign on the Stoner Pump station and that was all. They didn't issue a public statement, they didn't inform the city council...nothing. Well, at least nothing immediately. A statement wasn't sent out until several news sources began reporting on the issue.
Let me pretend to be the Mayor for a second and run down how I would handle the situation: I meet with my City Sewage Department. They tell me what the problem is and how we fix it. I get my communications guy to write a news release about the situation and reach out directly to each and every news contact we have. While he's composing that, I call each City Council member to tell them situation. Then, I schedule a couple of community meetings to make the public rounds and assure everybody that we're good.
In total, that takes what...maybe 2 hours and in the end saves everyone a bunch of trouble. Maybe not everyone will be happy, but at least they'll be informed and understanding. You're out in front of the problem instead of responding to criticism and claims of being incompetent. But for some reason, the Mayor and his office just can't get out in front of these issues...they wait until people are raising hell and asking questions.
I don't know if it's the wrong people in the wrong places, the thought that action is better than words or what, but the Mayor and his office is taking a butt kicking for things they probably shouldn't just because they didn't tell anyone what they were doing or why.
Like I said, I like these guys. I think the Mayor is a good dude. I think his Communications Director Ben Riggs is a good dude. I think most of the City's Department heads are competent at their jobs. But there is something amiss somewhere and it's not leaving a good impression on the people of Shreveport.