Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu’s spokesman said late Monday that the transition team “strives to follow” the state open-meetings statues, “though it is not required to do so by law.”
Spokesman Todd Ragusa was addressing a point raised earlier Monday by Norman Francis, Xavier University president and one of two leaders of Landrieu’s task force to vet police superintendent candidates. Francis said the names of those who apply to lead the New Orleans Police Department won’t be released and that the task force isn’t a public body. As such, Francis said he didn’t have to comply with the state Open Records Law.
The Lens asked Ragusa to cite the legal authority he referred to when he said the transition team doesn’t have to comply with the open-meetings law. He has not responded.
The Louisiana Supreme Court, in a 1997 case out of Baton Rouge, said generally that applicants for public employment have no right of privacy in their resumes.
Francis held a news conference to discuss the resignation of task force member Danatus King, who said he quit because the names of all applicants would be kept secret. King is the president of the local NAACP chapter.
Under an arrangement established by the transition team, the applications will be received by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. They will weed out the candidates they don’t believe are qualified and send along the rest to task force. In turn, the task force will recommend a few finalists to Landrieu to interview and choose from.
Landrieu’s transition team is led by Doug Thornton and Judy Reese Morse.