Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell’s pick as chief financial officer of New Orleans once held the same position under disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is now serving a 28-year sentence in federal prison on corruption charges.Yes, yes, White is not Kilpatrick. There's no reason to believe there is anything actually suspicious about him. But this is a mayor whose election was predicated in large part on the claim that she was going to do away with the "corrupt machine" in New Orleans. There was a lot of nonsense in that claim that never got sufficiently unpacked. A significant component of that nonsense, though, had to do with a canard that the said "machine" needed to be disrupted by an "outsider" who would finally unleash the energy of creative class transplants by freeing them from the tyranny of a backward native culture... or something like that.
Former Detroit Chief Financial Officer Norman White, who Cantrell announced late Monday would take the same role with her administration, was not implicated in the charges that brought down Kilpatrick. But his tenure under Kilpatrick's administration and later included questions about checks issued without proper documentation, reports required for state funding that were turned in late and losses on city investments.
I'm not bringing this up in order to argue about it now. There are too many dimensions of bullshit embedded in it. But whatever relationship it did or did not have to reality, it was a key winning message for the Cantrell campaign. The "national searches" to fill relatively pedestrian local government offices being conducted by the transition team now are supposed to help maintain that brand. They had the whole country to scan for the kind of example-setting squeaky-clean professional they fetishize. How did they land on this guy? For that matter, how did they land on Riley? What is this charter school/real estate/construction contractor dude doing as a deputy CAO? The transition process where all this was batted around might be a fun thing to hear about. Too about those non-disclosure agreements, though..