Scoot: Abuse of handicap placards by S&WB employees

April 04, 2018 - 8:24 pm

The last thing the New Orleans Sewage & Water Board needs is another black mark against it – but that’s exactly what it got after a citizen – let’s call him a Good Samaritan – reported seeing an unusual number of cars parked outside of the Sewage & Water Board offices with handicap placards.

WWL-TV reported that numerous Sewage & Water Board employees were abusing handicap placards and ripping off the city of New Orleans.

This was an explosive topic on my talk show today on  Listeners were outraged that S&WB employees were using handicap placards to conveniently park in front of their office building in downtown New Orleans even though they were not actually handicapped.

One caller tried to justify the inappropriate use of handicap placards by saying that city employees should be allowed to park near their office building.  Other callers spoke about their real handicaps and how it is often difficult to find a handicap space open.  That led to a conversation about taking advantage of handicap spaces or using handicap placards to park free on the streets of the city without actually being handicapped.

One man called and talked about the difficulty he has with his son, who is in a wheelchair for life, finding handicap parking spaces.  Immediately after that call, a caller named, Ann, called and admitted that she would often park in handicap spaces not realizing that others were affected.  She said that the conversation on the show had enlightened her and she will no longer park in handicap spaces.

Another caller said she knew of a doctor’s assistant that opening sells handicap placards for $35 and bragged about how “that’s New Orleans.”  That should NOT New Orleans!

The outrage over the S&WB employees abusing handicap placards is exacerbated by the recent revelations that, under Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his hand-picked appointee to head the board, the S&WB has been a den of incompetence that has caused homes and businesses in New Orleans to suffer significant flood damage.  The signs were there that problems existed, but nothing was done to fix the problems.  Interestingly, the city found money to fix a problem that might not have been as expensive to prevent.  Now, that IS New Orleans and it’s unacceptable.

The abuse of handicap placards may seem like an insignificant issue, but it is a symptom of the major problem of “entitlement mentality.”  The idea of stealing a parking space that might be used by someone who is handicapped is appalling to most people.  The S&WB employees have also stolen money from the city they work for.  It is estimated that the city has lost $197,000 in parking meter revenue.

What makes this travesty even more disturbing is the fact that an investigation by the Officer of Inspector General, last year, discovered that handicap placards were being abused and notified the S&WB about the problem.  It appears that nothing was done and the abuse by the employees continued.

Last week, the Office of Inspector General issued a report on 26 employees that were using fake handicap placards.  I am hopeful that the mass media exposure this issue has received and the condemnation from the citizens will force an attitude change in city government.

The acceptance of an “entitlement mentality” under the Landrieu Administration further demonstrates that Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been more acting like our mayor - rather than actually being our mayor.

And Mayor Landrieu wants to be our next president?

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