33 months without one; Utilities Director hiring should be left to next parish president

It has been 33 months since Ascension Parish has employed a Utilities Department Director.  And now, with President Kenny Matassa on his way out the door after ignoring the recommendation of a highly-paid consultant, the administration has posted a job notice.  What gives?

The last Utilities Director, Bill Depew was dumped after calling attention to the administration’s inability to operate a newly-acquired water plant.  Depew’s frustration at Matassa’s refusal to discuss the department’s shortcomings, he would not even take a meeting with Depew, resulted in…

Depew terminated as Utilities Director after calling out Matassa administration

an unceremonious firing.

As the parish undertakes sanitary sewer for the east bank, the white whale eluding the grasp of every administration since Ascension adopted its Home Rule Charter, a capable department head might be a good thing to have.  SSA Consultants, in return for several hundred thousands of dollars, stressed the importance of a qualified Utilities Director and urged another national search to find the individual.

SSA’s Slaughter hosting fundraiser to pay off Matassa’s legal bills

As Matassa and the gang continue infusing your tax dollars into SSA’s bank account, don’t expect the firm to remind the administration of that recommendation.  Most recently (nine months ago) SSA was hired to write job descriptions for Matassa but the work product has yet to be delivered.  Former HR Director Taleta Wesley was not up to the task and, apparently, neither is SSA Consultants.

Ascension’s Code of Ordinances also requires there to be a Utilities Director. Sec. 2-129. – The utilities department shall be headed by the director of utilities.

(a) The director of utilities shall direct and be responsible for all activities as they pertain to utilities operated by the governing authority or any of its districts and as directed by the president.

As of February 15, 2018 the position is one subject to ratification by the Parish Council within 120 days of hiring.  Sec. 2-11. – Ratification of positions.

(1) An interim appointment is an appointment made by the president to a position requiring ratification. Interim appointments will expire if they have not been ratified, as required by Charter and ordinances, as of the one hundred and twentieth (120th) day following interim appointment. No reappointment of the same individual shall then be made for the same position.

(2) Evaluation of temporary appointment. The president shall submit an evaluation of the interim appointment prior to ratification.

When Matassa hires a new Utilities Director how much time will be left in his embarrassing tenure?  How many council members will be returning in January 2020?

This smells of more political patronage dispensed by Matassa.  Having wasted nearly three years, the decision on Ascension’s next Utilities Director should be made by the next parish president; and ratification the responsibility of the next council.