Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018

BIG BUCKS

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A look into the city’s payroll

If big bucks are your goal, then don’t run for the Shreveport City Council, the Caddo Commission or the Caddo Parish School Board.

Caddo commissioners are the top paid. And Caddo Parish School Board members the lowest. Based on the budget sizes of each group, commissioners are overpaid by a large measure. And school board members just the opposite. (For the record, the Caddo Commissioners are the highest-paid part-time elected officials in the state.)

The 12 commissioners are paid $1,892 per month. The president gets an additional $100 a month compensation.

The 12 school board members receive $800 a month. The school board president is paid $900 per month.

The seven Shreveport council members are compensated $1,268 per month. The council president gets an extra 200 per month.

The school board’s primary responsibilities include supervision/hiring of the district superintendent and approval of the annual budget. The board must approve the closure of any schools, significant revisions of personnel policies and construction projects for the school district.

The council must approve the city’s annual budget and adopt ordinances that are effective within the city limits. The council approves the mayoral appointments, but the council cannot

fire a department head. The council also must approve, modify or deny recommendations of the Shreveport Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) affecting property within the city limits.

The commission has responsibility for the Caddo juvenile justice center including the detention center. The commission is also responsible for the animal shelter. Additionally, the commission is responsible for parish roads and bridges, the parish parks and garbage compactor in the parish. The commission also votes on MPC decisions on property within a four-mile radius of the city limits.

The commission and the Shreveport Council meet four times each month — two work sessions and two regular meetings. They both have numerous committees that meet periodically.

The school board has one work session and one regular meeting each month. The executive committee meets monthly.

The school board budget is more than $492 million. The city of Shreveport operating budget is $488 million. The capital improvements budget, which is funded with bond money, is $877 million. The commissions budget is $74 million.

As far as the number of constituents, city councilmembers have the most. After the 2010 re-apportionment, each district was roughly the same size. Due to population shifts, District F (Stephanie Lynch) has the smallest population, and District D (Michael Corbin) has the most population – by a 4,000-plus margin.

Although the school board and the commission both have the same jurisdiction — the entire parish — their 12 district lines differ (go figure).

School Board District 3 (Margaret Brown) and District 5 (Bonita Douzart) are almost the same size. They are the smallest districts by population. District 9 (Barry Rachal) is the largest district.

Caddo Commission District 5 (Jerald Bowman) and District 6 (Lynn Cawthorne) are virtually the same in population, and they are the two smallest districts. District 9 (John Atkins) is the largest district by a considerable margin.

Each of these representatives are elected for four-year terms. Council members can only serve two consecutive terms. Commissioners and school board members are limited to three consecutive terms.

Employee-wise, the school board is the largest by a large margin. Over 5,500 people work within the school system. Shreveport has 2,800 employees and the commission 353.

Each group is important in its mission. Each body has its own personality that is clearly reflected in their meetings, elected representatives and administrations.

John E. Settle Jr. has been a resident of Shreveport since January 1977. His articles appear regularly in local publications. He can be reached at 742-5513 or e-mail to: John@jesettle.com.

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