LAGNIAPPE: Why Teri Casso should be next Council Chair

Next Council Chair (?) Teri Casso

Required to elect one of its 11 members to the chair at the first meeting of every year, Ascension’s governing authority is scheduled to choose its next leader tomorrow in Donaldsonville.  The candidates to succeed Councilman Bill Dawson as Ascension’s next Parish Council Chairperson have been pared to two, Benny Johnson and Teri Casso.  Casso should be the choice.

The District 8 Councilwoman has demonstrated her ability to chair a deliberative body over seven years in the chair of the Council’s Finance Committee with the same composition as the full council.  The District 11 Councilman’s chairmanship of the Utilities Committee led Ascension to one awful decision, the purchase of Peoples Water Company on the west bank; while wasting half-a-decade in the venture toward sanitary sewer for the east bank.

Of the two Benny Johnson is much more closely tied to the current presidential administration, an abject embarrassment to every citizen of Ascension Parish.  While both publicly endorsed Kenny Matassa in 2015…

it is, we believe, Johnson who is more apt to conspire with the lamest of duck’s pillaging of Ascension’s coffers in the last year of a disgraceful presidency.

More pedestrian factors should also be considered.  To borrow a quote from Woody Allen, “Just showing up is half the battle.”

And Johnson does not show up more than any other member of the governing authority.  Since the currently-configured council was inaugurated on January 4, 2016 there have been 69 regular and special meetings.

And Johnson has failed to appear at 22% of them…

Benny Johnson-15 Absences since 1/7/16

Councilwoman Casso missed seven meetings over the span ((10%).

Johnson’s absenteeism has led the Council each of the last three years, finishing tied with Travis Turner in both 2017 (six) and 2018 (four).  Turner’s comparatively stellar attendance in 2016 (only three absences) prevented him from claiming the top spot.  The District 3 Councilman came in second with a still impressive 19% absenteeism rate…

Travis Turner-13 Absences

Alone in third-place, missing 15% of the meetings…

Dempsey Lambert-10 Absences

Rounding out the field:

  • 8 Absences (12%); Councilman Daniel “Doc” Satterlee
  • 7 Absences (10%); Councilwoman Teri Casso, Councilman John Cagnolatti
  • 5 Absences (7%); Councilman Todd Lambert
  • 4 Absences (6%); Councilmen Oliver Joseph and Aaron Lawler
  • 3 Absences (4%); Councilmen Bill Dawson and Randy Clouatre