Life After the FBI



By: Allen Johnson

It’s no secret that Jim Bernazzani, the hard-charging state head of the FBI, is pondering life after a long career of pursuing foreign terrorists and corrupt politicians. The mandatory retirement age for FBI agents is 57. Bernazzani, 52, has been entertaining job offers both inside and outside New Orleans, sources say. He recently turned down a top counter-terrorism job with the bureau in Washington, telling a recent meeting of the local FBI Citizens Academy that he is dedicated to the rebuilding of New Orleans. Our sources say some heavy hitters (read: financial backers) with conservative leanings want the tough-talking Bernazzani to consider running for mayor of New Orleans in 2010. Bernazzani isn’t talking about that idea, and federal law bars government employees from politicking. However, the prospect of a candidacy has “taken on a life of its own,” says a friend of the G-man. A native of Massachusetts, Bernazzani will find that the transition from crusading cop to elective office has been tried by many here, but achieved by few. Former NOPD Chief Richard Pennington lost the 2002 mayoral runoff to Ray Nagin, and former U.S. Attorney John Volz lost a 1995 run for sheriff of St. Tammany Parish. However, the late Joe Giarrusso Sr., moved from police chief to city councilman at-large and served several terms there.

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