In The News › Young: ‘Just get down to work’

Oct 5, 2010

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Jefferson Parish

Young: ‘Just get down to work’

Jeff president-elect must quit council

Tuesday, October 05, 2010
By Richard Rainey
The Times-Picayune

John Young said Monday he plans to put down the gavel as Jefferson Parish Council chairman in eight days and take up his seat as the newly elected parish president.

“No pomp and circumstance,” he said. “Just get down to work.”

Should Young stick to his tentative schedule, his resignation and swearing-in will coincide with the regularly scheduled Oct. 13 council meeting.

However, should he wait another nine days to take the oath of his new office, he will eliminate the need for a special election to fill the vacancy he leaves on the council, said Jacques Berry, spokesman for the Louisiana secretary of state’s office.

Young soundly defeated Larry Haas on Saturday to serve the remaining 14 months of Aaron Broussard’s term as parish president. Broussard resigned in January amid a federal investigation of his administration.

According the parish charter, Young has 30 days to enter office. Berry said Saturday’s results will be certified Oct. 12. A special election is unnecessary if an official resigns within a year of a regularly scheduled election, according to state law. Full, four-year terms for the parish presidency and seven council seats will up for election Oct. 22, 2011.

If the council does call a special election, it likely will coincide with the April 2 ballot to select a new assessor. If Young chose to wait nine more days, interim Parish President Steve Theriot would continue to serve despite an elected president waiting in the wings.

When he takes office, Young will face a skeptical public as he and the council rebuild a government laid low by the Broussard scandal. Although he did not identify members of his future team Monday, Young said he would be deliberate in assembling his new administration.

“The quicker he can make some of the key decisions there, the better off you’re going to be in stabilizing the parish,” said Councilman Chris Roberts, who publicly supported Young’s candidacy.

Roberts, the 1st District council member, said Monday he plans to run for Young’s at-large seat regardless of the election’s schedule. Still, the council must appoint an interim member to Young’s council seat. It will have 30 days from Young’s resignation to make its choice. The parish charter bars the interim official from running for the seat in the subsequent election.

Normally a rare occurrence, resignations and appointing temporary placeholders have become commonplace enough in Jefferson that some council members said they are considering new policies meant to ease the process.

The council’s next choice will be its third in as many years. Ron Maestri served from September 2008 until April 2009 between Jennifer Sneed’s resignation from the council’s 5th District seat and Cynthia Lee-Sheng’s election. And Theriot has been in place since Jan. 13.

The council’s quick selection of Theriot less than a week after Broussard’s exit drew protests from some residents who accused the council of making decisions in secret. At Roberts’ request, the Bureau of Governmental Research recommended the council oversee a new, 12-day process to vet nominees and seek public input before appointing a new official.

Council members said the next few weeks and months will require some bureaucratic dexterity as the parish government adjusts to new leadership.

“We’re certainly going to make sure the transition is seamless,” Councilman Tom Capella said.

Oct 5, 2010

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Jefferson Parish

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