Incumbent Ben Zahn trounced in bid for re-election as Kenner mayor
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Outgoing Kenner Police chief Michael Glaser trounced incumbent Ben Zahn by a 3-1 margin in Saturday’s election to become the city’s next Mayor-elect.
With 10,006 people casting ballots in the hotly contested race, Glaser finished with 7,547 votes (75.4 percent) to Zahn’s 2,459 (24.6 percent). The outcome was a powerful rebuke of Zahn, who had enjoyed at least 72 percent support in two previous runs for office.
“It was a very good turnout from the citizens of Kenner that want change,” Glaser said Saturday night. “We’ve been in the headlines too often recently for the wrong reasons.”
Glaser had promised to be a “no drama” mayor who would clean up corruption and waste within Kenner’s city hall. A series of Fox 8 Lee Zurik investigations in recent months uncovered evidence of payroll irregularities involving high-ranking City of Kenner employees in the wake of Hurricane Ida, including Zahn’s Deputy CAO Chad Pitfield.
Zahn initially defended Pitfield’s earnings, but later fired him after Zurik’s investigation and a city audit uncovered evidence indicating some of Pitfield’s pay records had been falsified. Fox 8 had to sue to obtain the payroll records that Zahn’s administration had failed to provide through a public records request.
Glaser called his enormous margin of victory “unexpected,” but said it was an indication that the majority of Kenner’s citizens were hungry for change.
“The citizens pay attention,” Glaser said, “and I do believe they wanted honest, good government. ... The finances of the city are the first thing we have to tackle.”
Glaser was term-limited to seek re-election as the city’s police chief. In the race to replace him in that job, Keith Conley scored an easy victory over Mike Sigur, taking 69 percent of the vote to Sigur’s 31 percent.
In the race for Slidell Police chief, incumbent Randy Fandal easily won a second full term, taking 82 percent of the vote against challenger Rhett Rodriguez.
And Lisa Ray Diggs overcame two competitors to win the race for Clerk of 2nd City Court in Orleans Parish. Diggs took 56 percent of the vote to defeat Jordan Bridges (33 percent) and Kenneth Cutno (10 percent). Fewer than 2,800 ballots were cast Saturday for the only race or measure on the Orleans Parish ballot.
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