Leonard Ford: Something stanks at Alexandria City Hall


            Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Things are running afoul at City Hall in downtown Alexandria, and it’s getting ugly.”

            For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the shenanigans at City Hall, I’m speaking of the investigation and the subsequent termination of Von Jennings, the mayor’s assistant in charge of developing and implementing a program designed to help minority- and women-owned businesses secure city contracts.

            Sometimes back in December, Mayor Roy put Jennings first on a paid administrative leave then without for allegedly being disloyal to him. Jennings claims the mayor did so because of she allegedly leaked privileged information about certain city matters supposedly to certain City Council members. With the rift going on between Mayor Roy and the majority black council members, her leaking information to Roy’s adversaries was a serious betrayal of the trust that he had in her. 

            After Jennings was placed on administrative leave, things began to go downhill for her as word came out from city administration that she was not adequately performing her job. Things such as not following up with contacts and returning telephone calls, not moving projects forward, failure to attend scheduled meetings, not working cooperatively with other workforce entities, and not being at work when she was supposed to eventually resulted in her termination.

            What I want to know is why these allegations of Jennings’ poor work performance did not surface prior to Roy supposedly found out that she had been leaking information to others. Here’s my thing. Jennings had been in her position for almost two years, and by some account, she was performing her work and performing it well. At the 2007 Central Louisiana Business League’s Gala, Roy praised Jennings for her excellent work. To me, that indicates that she was performing her duties and responsibilities. Would Roy praise members of his administrative staff who weren’t doing their jobs.

            Another thing that I find puzzling is that Jennings’ so-called failure to complete certain aspects of her job was known by Roy’s chief operating officer, Kay Michiels, as she sent an e-mail to Jennings on Aug. 7  informing her that she had heard repeatedly from others that she was not performing her job duties and responsibilities. There’s no doubt in my mind that Michiels met with Roy and informed him of the apparent situation concerning Jennings. I would think that this was something that he definitely needed to know, especially if it concerned someone on his staff. Jennings poor work performance must have not been that big of a deal at the time because if it was, Roy would have put her on notice that she needed to improve her work by first giving her an oral warning, and if improvement wasn’t shown, giving her a written warning, and finally, if some improvement still wasn’t noticed, putting her on administrative leave.

            From what I know of this case from either reading published reports or word-of-mouth from those who are privy to the ins/outs of this disagreement between Jennings and Roy, I haven’t found anything that speaks of Roy starting disciplinary action on Jennings before December 2008.

            Now, if Roy had started disciplinary action by doing what I indicated above, and Jennings did not meet the measures that he had set forth for her, he would have had every right to terminate her after placing her on administrative leave, but that didn’t happen. As to why no action was taken by the administration is anyone’s guess, as disciplinary action is a standard practice used by most local, state, and federal agencies to weed out bad and underperforming employees. In the administration’s eye, Jennings was an underperforming employee, yet she was still allowed to continue doing her work as usual. Go figure.

            Everything that has happened to Jennings has all the markings of a something foul. It’s a cover up by Roy to get rid of an employee who was not a “team player,”and who was disloyal. Using her work performance was a ruse. Roy, who stated that Jennings was an at-will employee on his staff who worked at his pleasure, could have terminated her just on her leaking information. Yes, there would have been questions as to the reason she was terminated, but Roy wouldn’t had have to give an answer.

            Towards the end of Ned Randolph’s administration, he terminated three employees. When asked why, he never really gave a clear reason for doing so. To this day, no one really can say why the three were terminated. Roy could have done the same instead of coming up with that bull about Jennings poor work performance. But hey, he is looking ahead; he’s got to CYA.

            One would think that by Jennings’ termination from her position, Roy wouldn’t have anything else to say about her, but that is not the case. When he reintroduced his Diversity In Action Plan, he stated that it only took between 60 to 90 days to fully implement it, as it wasn’t done in the two years that Jennings was in charge of it. Roy didn’t come out and directly say Jennings’ name, but his reference to the work not being done clearly pointed to Jennings.  

            Roy has let us know that he is the man in charge at city hall, and that he has no problems playing hardball to get what he wants. That includes having his administrative staff hire a private investigator to follow staff around to document your every movement. He states that he had no knowledge of an investigation of Jennings. Come on, Jacques, you’re the mayor, and you had no inclination that this was going to take place. Give us a break.

            A word of wise to those of you work directly under the mayor –“you’ve better keep your nose clean, keep information to yourself, do your work, and bow down to Jacques if you want to keep your job.



9 Responses

  1. I see this drama as it’s being played out by all parties involved. I watched the City Council do exactly the same thing to Lisa Harris the other day and right now I’m beginning to have a bad case of voters remorse by voting for those I thought were mature in dealing with the Mayor.

    I don’t think that this is about loyalty, it’s about distrust, “mess” and drama which seems to be the norm for several people. It all boils down to professionalism not who is loyal to whom. The city council is overwhelmingly African-American and I find them to be an embarrassment to the entire community.

    They are there to serve the constituents who elected them they can not play the role of the “Vengeful Crusader” by correcting every perceived wrong doing of past generations of Caucasians!

    I’ve had enough of their ill conceived political posturing which is doing nothing but making them look like idiots. All of this wasted energy could be best used by doing the right thing and that is by moving this city forward for a change and to ensure a better quality of life for the people of this city.

    If they do not personally like the mayor then they need to have the courage to conduct an honest and personal dialogue with him to end the utter stupidity demonstrated by each and everyone of them.

    I left here years ago and I can still see that nothing much has changed! The same old backwards and stagnating mindset still exists!

  2. 1) This is a very Competent Council.

    2) Now that the Mayor has a conflict of interest lawsuit against him for his twisted ties to the Cleco case while he was in office he is trying to hide. (You can run but you can not hide!) – The Law is going to get you on this one. The greedy man gets caught every time.

    Now the city is going to see just how transparent the Administration is. They have been sued. This means that all of their cell phone records and emails are going to be a matter of public record. They are afraid to talk to the council . They have resorted to taking Goins and Larvadains Ordinances off the agenda so those items never reach being VOTED on.

  3. There is never a problem terminating an employee whose performance is below the acceptable standards for a company, whether it be public or private.

    However, are there any other employees, perhaps, doing the exact same thing with no repurcusions. Are we allowing our “picks” to take extended lunches to handle personal affairs? This is when problems arise.

    We MUST be consistent and not build files agains those employees who “buck” the political norm of do as I say and not as I do philosophy. This happens more often than not.

    We all will never know the full reason all of this occurred. Sometimes, we must read between the lines. If the dollars necessary to fund any project were not allowed into a budget, surely no progress will be made. Do we “consciously” set our employees up to fail because of their affiliates? Maybe, or maybe not.

    But, when it’s all said and done, it doesn’t matter who we are, we all have to meet our maker.

    The question is, are we ready? Have we treated people the way we want to be treated? Have we helped someone unfortunate along the way? Do we offer a position to someone based on what they know and not on who they are affiliated with?

    United we stand, divided, we fall. Let’s release the “power surge” (those who are choosing to through their power around) that seems to be the City of Alexandria government, and grow the city of Alexandria.

  4. BootNooka wrote:

    Lets get real for a second here. She wasn’t working for the Parks dept. or the garbage dept. She worked on the Mayors staff. Your hours depend on what particular project you’re working on. I’m sure there are Business trips to Baton Rouge, New Orleans not to mention Washington DC. It appears to me that a big part of her job description was to obtain grant money. In order to get said money you’ve to go where the money is, i.e B.R and DC with tin cup in hand. This position “should not” be an 8 – 5 job. Trust me, you can’t not write grant proposals in a city office between 8 and 5. The phone is going to be ringing off the hook, there’s meetings all day everyday etc. I don’t know the lady, but i’d bet money she spent time outside of City Hall working on some of these projects. No matter how you slice it or dice it, this is not about Vonn Jennings. IT’S POLITICAL TERRORISM!! plain and simply. I feel sorry for the guy or gal who throws their hat in the ring to oppose the Mayor in the next election………..

  5. proudalexandrian wrote:

    Why don’t you try this one on for size. It is called CYA. This is not only a minority worker, but a woman. Also, a woman who has ties to Brigette Brown. Maybe they were just trying to protect the city from another lawsuit. Dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. If she had been in her position almost a year and nothing was getting done, why didn’t she go to the city councel and let them know that. Seems that no one has a problem when it is in thier benefit. Maybe Ms. Brown was giving her advice, and they were trying to set up the mayor. Ever thought of that. I bet not…….Funny how the very next day she was at the city councel meeting with the notorious Ms. Brown. If she had done her job and maybe not taken advice from her, she may still have her job……..One day, people in this town will realize that Brigette Brown is nothing but a pot stirring trouble maker………..

  6. BootNooka wrote:

    of course, all roads in Alexandria politics lead to Bridgett Brown. If Alexandria didn’t have Bridgett Brown you’d have to create her. Bridgett Brown is the only person in Alexandria that has the “Halls” cough drops of course to stand up to the mayor. Some one has to be the loyal opposition. It’s amazing that the only sentence you Boo birds plucked from the article is the one about her running errands. Did you happen to notice that the sleazing ended at 2:30 that day? Do any of you Boo birds know what time she left for the evening that day. With all that said, who cares about anything other than her job performance. If she wasn’t cutting it, then fire her. Everyone on the Mayors staff works at his pleasure. He can fire all of them today if he wants to, and Bridgett Brown or Larry Brown for that matter couldn’t do a dang thing about it. By the way. How the Hell did Bridgett Brown get into this anyway? Stop already, let her be. She got to make plans on how to spend yall’s MILLIONS she’s about to get…………


  7. kuntanottoby wrote:

    The investigations were conducted by Mark Gravel of Gravel Investigation and spans various days in 2007 and 2008. Gravel is a second cousin to Mayor Jacques Roy, but his service to the city predates Roy’s election.

    The investigations were conducted by Mark Gravel of Gravel Investigation and spans various days in 2007 and 2008. Gravel is a second cousin to Mayor Jacques Roy, but his service to the city predates Roy’s election.

    The investigations were conducted by Mark Gravel of Gravel Investigation and spans various days in 2007 and 2008. Gravel is a second cousin to Mayor Jacques Roy, but his service to the city predates Roy’s election.

    Does it stop! OMG!!!!!

    UNBELIEVABLE! Is anybody else out there reading this!

  8. kuntanottoby wrote:

    City Attorney Chuck Johnson, a committee member, said he authorized the investigations.

    Of course he authorized the investigations! he authorizes all of this non-sense… because when It all comes down to it – Our Mayor, didn’t do anything – Chuck did it! Chuck did it! Poor Chuck…

  9. SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — U.S. Sen. Roland Burris now acknowledges attempting to raise money for ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich — an explosive twist in his evolving story on how he landed a coveted Senate appointment from the man accused of trying to sell the seat.
    Burris made the admission to reporters late Monday, after releasing an affidavit over the weekend saying he had more contact with Blagojevich advisers about the Senate seat than he had described under oath to the state House panel that recommended Blagojevich’s impeachment. The Democrat also said in the affidavit, but not before the panel, that the governor’s brother asked him for fundraising help.

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