City payroll pits mayor vs. council

Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. faced off against City Council members on Monday by refusing to provide a weekly accounting of city payroll.

For years, council members – who approve payroll – have gotten a weekly list of employees and their salaries before their vote. Johnson said he no longer would provide that list because assembling it is “onerous.”

Johnson bristled under questions from Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill, who routinely asks detailed questions about the weekly payroll and claims dockets that add up into the millions of dollars. Johnson said Weill was meddling in executive department affairs.

“You are getting into management of the day-to-day operations,” he said. “There are prerogatives that the mayor has and prerogatives that the council has. … Those have been out of sync.”


KINGFISH responds:

Sorry Harvey but the City Council has every right to inspect what you are asking them to approve although a monthly payroll would probably be an acceptable compromise. In case you haven’t noticed, city finances are a wreck and tax revenues will probably decline for the next twelve months or more. It is the responsibility of the Council to hold the executive branch accountable for how money is spent and how many employees are on the payroll. Its OUR money and we aren’t going to listen to any politicians who just say “trust us”.

Jackson Jambalaya