With an annual salary of more than $96,000, Mandeville Mayor Eddie Price would hardly seem to require help from a charity at Christmas.
Yet in December 2006, the mayor received a $500 Wal-Mart gift card from the Mandeville Police Citizen Service Fund, informally known as Toys for Tots because it distributes Christmas gifts to needy children.
Price received another $500 Wal-Mart card from the fund in 2005 and a $300 card in 2003, according to fund records. Gift card lists for 2004 were not available. The fund was also used to buy the mayor a $735 hunting bow, including case and accessories, one year and a gun cabinet another year, though the money for the bow apparently was later reimbursed.
Price was not the only city employee to receive gift cards courtesy of the Citizen Service Fund. In each of the six years except for 2007 for which the city provided records to The Times-Picayune, the fund was used to purchase Wal-Mart gift cards for as many as 20 Police Department and City Hall employees and once for Police Chief Tom Buell's mother-in-law. Most of the gifts were for $100 or more.
I think the Grinch may run for mayor next election cycle.