City employees group claims Rev. Wildes is forbidden by Church from serving on Civil Service Commission



Randolph Scott, head of the Concerned Classified City Employees group, recently told Gambit the group was considering filing a complaint with the State Attorney General's Office and the District Attorney due to the Civil Service Commission's (CSC) alleged Open Meetings Law in its last meeting.

It seems he's appealed to a higher power (in a cutesy joke and not literal sense). Randolph has emailed a copy of a letter he's sent to New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond. The letter cites Canon 285, from the Vatican Code of Canon Law, which says, in part: "Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power."

According to Scott, Loyola University President Rev. Kevin Wildes, a Catholic priest, who was recently appointed to and subsequently voted chairman of the CSC, has violated that rule. (Wildes is also a Commissioner of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.)

(Full text of the letter after the jump)

October 30, 2011

Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond
Archbishop of New Orleans
7887 Walmsley Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70125

Re: Appointment of Rev. Kevin Wildes to the Civil Service Commission for the
City of New Orleans.

Dear Archbishop Aymond:

It is our understanding that the Catholic Church’s Canon 285.3 states, “Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power”.

Rev. Kevin Wildes, President of Loyola University and Roman Catholic Priest was appointed to the Civil Service Commission by the City Council of New Orleans on July 21, 2011. It is clear that the appointment of Rev. Wildes was at the urging of Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Mayor Landrieu also nominated Rev. Wildes to his position on the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s Board of Commissioners. As President of Loyola Rev. Wildes has been given a “Vote of No Confidence” by the University’s College of Humanities and Natural Sciences with a recorded 61-19 vote. In addition, Rev. Wildes participated in a plan to eliminate 14 majors from the university and professors who were tenured or on a tenure track. The University has been in litigation regarding this matter. Rev. Wildes has been labeled as being “hostile to labor”.

During the short period of time Rev. Wildes has been on the Civil Service Commission, he has overturned a decision made by the previous Civil Service Commissioners during their scheduled July 18, 2011 meeting. Case in point, the Inspector General, Ed Quatrevaux requested 4 unclassified positions for the RSD to oversee Capital Projects. The Commission (Forrester, Douglas and Neveu were present; Giovinsky and Davis were absent) only approved two upper-level unclassified positions but granted Mr. Quatrevaux two lower-level classified positions. (Unclassified positions serve at the whim of the Mayor and there are no mandatory educational standards or salary restrictions)
Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond

At the Civil Service Commission’s September 19, 2011 meeting, Mr. Quatrevaux made another request to the new Commissioners to reconsider the decision by the previous Commission granting the 2 classified Civil Service positions instead of the 2 unclassified positions initially requested. (Rev. Wildes was Mr. Quatrevaux’s boss on the Ethics Review Board and this was Rev. Wildes first Civil Service Commission meeting) The new motion passed unanimously.

During the October 17, 2011, Civil Service Commission meeting, it appears that Chairman, Rev. Wildes violated the State of Louisiana’s Open Meeting Laws. Chairman, Rev. Wildes did not indicate the justification for going into executive session as required by law. Also, the Civil Service Commission, chaired by Rev. Wildes, refused to put the matter on the agenda as requested in our September 21, 2011 correspondence. No explanation has been given to date regarding this matter.

We bring this matter to your attention because we believe that this is a violation of Catholic Canon laws, as well as, a violation of U S Supreme Court Proclamations regarding the separation of Church and State and any and all other Federal, State and Local laws, regulations, guidelines, and perceptions concerning this matter.

We are looking forward to hearing a response from you regarding this matter. For further clarification or additional information, we can be contacted at (504) 458-0862 or P.O. Box 52994, New Orleans, Louisiana 70152-2994.

With regards,

Randolph J. Scott
Facilitator for the Concerned Classified City Employee Group


"Archbishop Aymond has received the letter. He said it's something he will have to look into," said Archdiocese spokesperson Sarah McDonald.

McDonald added that Wildes, a Jesuit priest, is directly overseen not by the Aymond or the Archdiocese of New Orleans but by the Jesuits of the Province of New Orleans.

Officials from the Jesuits office were not immediately available for comment.

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