Thursday, June 12, 2008

Attention: Mr. Cerasoli

Dear Mr. Cerasoli,

You have been assigned a huge task, one in which much is asked of you in terms of time and foresight. I have predicted that this important position will be made nearly impossible for anyone.

Today in the New Orleans Times-Picayune I read that the mayor and his office have credit cards that have most likely been abused.

Should lawmakers have access to discretionary funds to help promote business already in the city and attract businesses from elsewhere to relocate in New Orleans? Yes.

Should all members of the mayor's staff have access to this same card? Not sure.

Should the mayor be allowed to treat his wife to dinner on the city? No.

Should the city buy alcohol for functions when state law excludes this purpose? No.

Should all persons who use the city card have to report on exactly what and whom they spent taxpayers money? Absolutely.

According to this online article, there is no system to follow up or audit the expenses accrued by the mayor's office. I propose that you (or someone assigned by you) create some rules for the mayor and his staff so that they are forced to be fiscally responsible, financially ethical, and monetarily legal. I say this as someone who has to save all MY PERSONAL receipts so my wife can make sure that I don't spend money that we don't have on things we don't need.

I suggest the following rules:

All persons who were in attendance at functions names be listed if they were paid for.
ITEMIZED receipts must be turned in on a regular basis (weekly? monthly?)
All expenses must be accounted for in writing (i.e., who were you with? what was the purpose? where did this spending occur? etc.)
Only certain specific staffers should have access to this account. The mayor should not be allowed to pick said staffers.

This is only a start. There are most certainly rules for discretionary spending in other places in the world. Why doesn't our World Class city have such rules in place?

If they can't abide by your rules, perhaps they need to have their Amex cards revoked and be given a budget. If they can't play by those rules, they must submit IN ADVANCE a written request for funding. It may or may not be approved.

Thank you,

Latin Teacher and George's Dad.

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