The controversy surrounding the firing of Carl Slaughter as director of the Jewel J. Newman Community Center in Scotlandville points to a larger problem with how these community centers are managed.
Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel fired Slaughter, saying she wants to improve the center’s operations.
Slaughter, who has been the center’s director for more than 30 years, said Banks-Daniel wants to replace him with a political crony. He’s hired an attorney to fight his firing.
The dispute between Banks-Daniel and Slaughter has become a debate about Slaughter’s stewardship of the community center.
T here’s a broader question here that needs serious consideration: Why are members of the Metro Council making firing and hiring decisions about community center staff?
Metro Council members should be concerned with budget and policy matters for the city-parish, not managing city personnel beyond their personal staffs.
In 2011, the Metro Council moved control of the community centers from the Mayor-President’s Office to individual council members. That’s an exercise in feudal politics, enabling individual council members to treat their districts as personal fiefdoms.
The question of Slaughter’s fitness to manage Jewel J. Newman Community Center shouldn’t be in the hands of one member of the Metro Council. The Metro Council should change that policy, and place hiring and firing decisions for such city-parish workers back in the hands of the mayor.