Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment inherited a bloated Personnel Roster from his predecessor, including 71 Part Time and 5 Temporary employees among 542 names. In Kenny Matassa’s four-year tenure the number of employees grew from 397, exceeding 550 at one point, settling in at 542 when he exited the parish political stage. Whether through natural attrition or executive decision, the number of individuals on Ascension’s payroll has steadily declined under Cointment with a corresponding reduction in annual salary totals.
According to a recently produced roster the parish employs 486 individuals (51 of whom are Part Time, with 3 Temporary), a 10.3% reduction from December 2019.
Just a month into Cointment’s tenure and the employee roster had been pared by 20, including many of Matassa’s inner circle. Which should come as no surprise since it happens whenever a new administration takes over the reins of parish government.
From February to May another 26 individuals left the parish’s employ, several opting for retirement without being replaced. This natural attrition is to be expected since Ascension’s workforce is significantly older, on average, than private operations tend to be. In fact, that was a prominent conclusion of a two-year Efficiency/Effectiveness Study done by SSA Consultants during Matassa’s one term in office.
But 18 of that number were Part-Time Maintenance Technicians who left en masse when informed they would actually have to show up for work. That is according to a highly-placed source within the current administration. The net effect on parish payroll from February to May was a reduction of $223,105 when the total number of employees dipped below 500 for the first time since September of 2018.
Kenny Matassa added employees at a faster rate than the current reduction in force, exceeding 550 by mid-2019.
496 employees in May was reduced by another ten, numbering 486 at the beginning of this month. That number could be less one employee whose termination was overturned by the Parish Council though, we have been informed, the individual has not returned. Either way, the reduction in total payroll exceeds $300,000 since May ($397,857 if the non-returning employee salary is subtracted).
Since Cointment’s January 6, 2020 inauguration the total of annual salaries paid by Ascension Parish Government has been reduced by over $1.5 million.
The parish president declined comment for this piece.