In The News › Jefferson Parish Politics: Council Action On Theriot, Inspector General

Jan 22, 2010

Source: BayouBuzz

Filed under: City Government, Governance, Jefferson Parish

Jefferson Parish Politics: Council Action On Theriot, Inspector General

Friday, January 22, 2010
By Walt Bennetti

Righting Wrong

After citizen criticism for its failure to provide an open and transparent selection process and possibly violating state open meetings laws, the Jefferson Parish Council has scheduled an agenda item to “re-ratify” the selection of Steve Theriot as Interim Parish President.

After former Parish President Aaron Broussard suddenly resigned on January 8th, 5 of the 7 Council members held a series of telephone conversations to discuss potential candidates for the Interim Parish President position. Over the weekend of Saturday January 9th and Sunday January 10th, these Council members decided upon former Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot. Then incoming Council Chairman John Young and Councilman Byron Lee did not participate in the discussions.

According to the Jefferson Parish Charter, after Broussard’s resignation, the Council had 30 days to appoint an Interim Parish President.

On Monday January 11th, the five Council members that were engaged in the Theriot selection along with Councilman Lee, participated in a press conference where they announced the Theriot appointment. Again, Councilman Young was not present at the press conference.

At the January 13th Council meeting, the selection of Theriot was announced and the Council voted 6-0 to approve the appointment. Councilman Young abstained citing his issues with the closed selection process.

Prior to the vote on Theriot’s appointment, several citizens discussed their displeasure with the selection process and the lack of input from citizens.
Among the most vocal was Richard Brown of Kenner.

At the Council meeting, Mr. Brown discussed what he believed to be violations of the state open meetings laws. After the meeting, Mr. Brown contacted the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and discussed with them his concerns. After consulting with attorneys in the AG’s office, Mr. Brown prepared a formal complaint to file with the AG.

Since the Theriot appointment was not procedurally correct, a potential outcome of a complaint with the Attorney General could be that a court could declare the appointment null and void.

Prior to filing the complaint, Mr. Brown provided a copy to Councilman Young, Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson and Deputy Parish Attorney Louis Gruntz. They agreed with Brown and that set the wheels in motion for a new resolution appointing Theriot at the next Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 27th.

Since the Council is re-ratifying the Theriot appointment at the next Council meeting, Mr. Brown is not filing his complaint.

Capella Joins In

Echoing Council Chairman John Young’s statements earlier this month, Councilman-At-Large Tom Capella said Thursday that he will introduce a resolution calling for a Jefferson Parish Inspector General.

Capella’s resolution will call for a five-member committee to select the IG. The committee will be comprised of civic and business leaders, the Metropolitan Crime Commission and the Bureau of Governmental Research.

Under Capella’s plan, the committee would have an August 18th deadline to conduct research and report to the Council.

Jefferson Parish is still a party to several federal investigations into parish contractors and their involvement with former CAO Tim Whitmer and Whitmer’s company, Lagniappe Industries.

Jan 22, 2010

Source: BayouBuzz

Filed under: City Government, Governance, Jefferson Parish

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