Passion from Slidell’s new chief is obvious

Editor January 16, 2017 Comments Off on Passion from Slidell’s new chief is obvious
Passion from Slidell’s new chief is obvious

Slidell voters made a good decision in selecting Randy Fandal to be the next chief of police for the city.
Randy officially took over as chief with his inauguration ceremony held last Friday. He defeated three other quality entries in the race in November, and knowing Randy as much as I do, the city residents picked a man who will be an outstanding chief.
I actually met Randy Fandal almost 40 years ago when he was a football player for Slidell High. I’m pretty sure he played defensive back—I mean you can’t expect me to remember the position for every one of thousands of athletes I covered during my sports career.
No, I don’t claim to have known him well at the time, but somehow I seemed to run into him a few times over the years as he served 10 years with the Slidell Police, then went on to his 23 year career with State Police. I remember him telling me over a year ago that he planned to run for chief and I immediately knew he would be a strong candidate.
In the past year I have gotten to know him far better and I feel confident the city has selected a great chief. Randy made a point to show his face at virtually every public event he could in the 12 months of campaigning and those who know me know that I’m at most of those public outings. He and I talked a lot and the more we talked the more I knew he would be very good if he was elected.
The impressive character traits I see in Randy are that he is a very intelligent guy who will be a good administrator, he is tough on crime and he is someone who wants to be the greatest chief of police the city has ever seen. In his inaugural acceptance speech he got near the end and fought back tears in thanking the citizens for the opportunity. It couldn’t be clearer that the guy is passionate about wanting to do a great job.
One reason for that passion is because he is a hometown guy, and as I’ve found out in hitting 60 years of age and older, you begin to look at your life and hope you are leaving a positive legacy. No doubt he has already done that with his law enforcement career, but the way he wants to still do more says a lot about the character this man has.
State Police Superintendent Col. Michael Edmonson, who also came across as a man of great character, made it clear that his years knowing Randy assured him that Slidell has voted in an excellent choice for chief.
For what it’s worth from this corner, I will wholeheartedly agree.
Good luck chief.

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Covering inauguration events is always interesting since there are a lot of side stories you get from being there.
If you’ve ever been to an event such as this you know the usual routine is pretty similar to kick things off: First you have an opening prayer, the National Anthem, the Color Guard bringing in the flags and usually someone sings the Star Spangled Banner.
I have heard a lot of versions of the Star Spangled Banner and I’ve heard many different people sing it. But I must say that the performance by a young lady named Julia Swann at the Randy Fandal inauguration was one of the better ones I’ve seen at the local level.
I certainly recognize the last name of Swann and immediately wondered if she was the daughter of Slidell Police Asst. Chief Kevin Swann. The answer was “yes” and her mother, who certainly should get her share of credit, is Susan Swann.
Kevin told me that Julia is a high school student at Northshore High and also goes to the New Orleans School of Creative Arts—no big surprise.
All I can say is look out “The Voice,” since I wouldn’t be shocked to see her on the show before long.

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Speaking of inaugurations, I covered the swearing in ceremony for St. Tammany Assessor Louis Fitzmorris, who also listened to his share of accolades about the job he has done so far in taking over that office five years ago.
While I also believe Fitzmorris is doing a good job making the assessor’s office a place parish residents can be proud of, I couldn’t help but find it interesting to see the attendance that day.
You have to realize that the state law calls for the assessor to actually be sworn in a year after winning election. It has to do with transition time from the previous office holder. So when he held his inauguration, there were no other people being sworn in.
That still didn’t mean almost every public official around had to attend, but guess what? The room was packed with an entire section of public officials. From our parish president to sheriff to city councilmen to school board members to parish councilmen—you name it and they were all there with a smile to congratulate Mr. Fitzmorris on his second term.
Now I’m not suggesting that anyone there was wondering about property assessments for their buildings or land, but let’s face it, you are a lot smarter to make friends with people in high places than not. And the parish assessor is a very important position for reasons we all understand.
I’m sure Mr. Fitzmorris was very appreciative of all those important people making the effort to attend his inauguration. Obviously the assessor has made a lot of friends.

Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at kevinchiri@gmail.com.

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