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New Orleans Picking Up Multi-Million Dollar Vacation Bill For "Tramautized" Employees

[Paul adds as a preface: As a New Orleanian, I have a very different take on this. I think it was a good idea]

The New York Times is reporting that New Orleans officials are planning to drop millions dollars of taxpayer money on vacations. I'm sure that will go over well at the Astrodome...

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 4 - A day after two police suicides and the abrupt resignations or desertions of up to 200 police officers, defiant city officials on Sunday began offering five-day vacations - and even trips to Las Vegas - to the police, firefighters and city emergency workers and their families.

The idea of paid vacations was raised by both Mayor C. Ray Nagin and senior police officials who said that their forces were exhausted and traumatized and that the arrival of the National Guard had made way for the officers to be relieved.

"I'm very concerned about individuals who have been here, particularly since the first few days, and have been through a lot of hardship," Mr. Nagin said in an interview.

He said most of the police officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers "are starting to show signs of very, very serious stress, and this is a way to give them time to reunite with their families."

Mr. Nagin, who has been demanding more federal assistance for days as his city struggled with despair, death and flooding, said he had asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for the trips but the agency said it could not. He said the city, therefore, would pay the costs.

It's hard to say how many New Orleans city employees this offer applies to, but assuming a $2,500 bill for each trip and estimating that the offer applies to 3,000 city public safety employees, that's a $7.5 million dollar bill.

(Kevin had to run, so Jay Tea is taking over)

Oh. My. God. I am dumbfounded. I can understand wanting to reward the First Responders once the crisis has passed, but IT AIN'T OVER YET. At this moment, the city is still largely submerged, powerless, and a complete disaster area. Sending away the cops, firefighters, and the like for vacations at this time is the absolutely LAST THING that they should be doing.

If there ever was any doubt of just how corrupt, how out-of-touch with reality, how certifiably INSANE the government of New Orleans is, this removes it.

"Mr. Mayor! Your city is virtually destroyed. Thousands of your citizens are dead. Thousands more are still stranded. Hundreds of thousands are homeless. Engineers say it'll be months before they can even think about rebuilding. Where are you and your head disaster guy, who left hundreds of buses sitting empty in parking lots to be destroyed by floods instead of using them to save people's lives, going?"

"We're going to Disneyland!" (frantic whispering) "Er, Las Vegas!"

As I think more about it, though, maybe it's a good idea. Give Colonel Ebbert and his cronies those free tickets to Vegas, to Atlantic City, to wherever they want to go.

Just make the tickets one-way.


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Comments (11)

I truly don't understand th... (Below threshold)
stoj:

I truly don't understand this. According to the DoD briefing, the police force was down to about 500 officers, or about 1/3 of it's original force. The rest were either missing, didn't show up, or showed up the first day but left "until the situation made more sense to them" (or until they were sent to Vegas).

VEGAS? These officers, who probably lost just about everything, are being sent to Vegas, where they will be tempted to blow what little they might have left? That is insane.

It would be amusing to watc... (Below threshold)
LagunaDave:

It would be amusing to watch the MSM go apesh*t if Bush announced that he was sending all the National Guard troops that just arrived in NOLA on vacation "because they've been through a lot of hardship".

You are absolutely right though, it is just surreal.

I'd be very interested to s... (Below threshold)
Brett Buck:

I'd be very interested to see which public safety workers *actually take them up on the offer*. It's beyond conception that a policemen/fireman/etc. would be willing to go to Vegas and party with the city in the shape it is now.

I can see a day off to see that their families are taken care of and safe. I can see going on vacation maybe 6 months from now. But if any of them actually want go to Vegas for a vacation right now, I would give them a one-way ticket and tell them to not bother coming back.

It's never too early... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

It's never too early to start buying votes. Nagin's political career is doomed and this is his way of trying to fight the inevitable. We may see some other trial balloons filled with cash before all is said and done.

He might want to allocate extra monies (should they ever exist) to bus repair and bus driver hazard pay first. Oops, bad idea. Wouldn't want to direct anyone's attention to that slight oversight.

For once, I'm speechless.</... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

For once, I'm speechless.

Apparently they haven't eve... (Below threshold)
edh:

Apparently they haven't even realized that the city of NO has no income sources. Who is going to cover the next pay checks for all city employees? How can the mayor and other officials even have jobs?

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GUYS THIN... (Below threshold)
Paul:

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GUYS THINK stand by for a post

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GUYS T... (Below threshold)
stoj:

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GUYS THINK stand by for a post
Posted by: Paul

I hope not. I don't think putting people (who lost just about everything) in a gambling arena is "prudent at this juncture".

Paul, I hope it's a satisfa... (Below threshold)

Paul, I hope it's a satisfactory explanation, because police departments and fire agencies from around the country are rushing in volunteers to help stabilize the situation, and to hear this kind of story is a colossal misuse of resources.

If it is more along the lines of getting people out of the disaster region and reorganize them in a secured environment to improve morale, and then send them back into New Orleans en masse, that's one thing, but so far, it sounds like a mess of state and local origin.

Have any of you considered ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Have any of you considered the fact that the New Orleans police and firefighters have been working nonstop (those who stuck around) for more than seven days now with poor or nonexistent resources, most have lost their homes, their families are displaced who knows where, and they have seen their city destroyed before their eyes? Not only that, but the national guard and other military forces have arrived in force now, and can reasonably take over from the beleaguered police and firemen? But you're right, it's unreasonable for them to get some time to find their families and psychologically regroup from the horror they have been witnessing, because they may go to Vegas. Ignoring of course the fact that Vegas is where all the open hotel rooms are (they're a bit cramped in Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia right now)!

Good Grief the world might ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Good Grief the world might just end.

Mantis got something right.

I'm closing comments here because I'd like everyone to read my take as someone who lives there and understands the dynamics.

Please continue the discussion above.

And whoever is impersonating mantis, cut that out!




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