Matassa lawyers will have to make do with $285,000

President Kenny Matassa (foreground) and CAO Ken Dawson (File photo)

We suspect nobody is looking forward to the end Kenny Matassa’s gaffe-laden embarrassment of a parish presidency more than Chief Administrative Officer Ken Dawson.  Covering for Matassa is a full-time job, dirty work tasked to Dawson who was scheduled to pitch the “not to exceed” $460,000 contract for his boss’ lawyers at Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting.  But Dawson could not answer “a simple question” posed by Councilman Daniel “Doc” Satterlee:

“Are we spending taxpayer monies to push forward a lawsuit on behalf of Mr. Kenny Matassa, to recover his legal fees?”

Infrastructure Director William Daniel mitigated the damage by removing $175,000 from the proposed appropriation, meaning the existing $200,000 contract would only increase to $285,000.  CAO Dawson claimed the Council had already approved the Matassa lawsuit behind the closed doors of Executive Session on March 21.  Pressed by Satterlee, he would claim:

“The decision was made to move forward with the lawsuit that was based on the contract the parish had.  It was not focused on the president.  That was my understanding.”

Lawler spearheads effort to reimburse Matassa legal fees: $230,000

Of course it was focused on the president, but Ken Dawson is paid a $137,280 salary not to say so.  That’s a $17,000 raise from 2018 for those of you keeping score.

What’s Matassa’s legal team going to do to earn the increased contract amount (which had been doubled by a unanimous Finance Committee on February 12 by the way):

Amendment No. 1 to Legal Services Contract with Roedel Parsons Koch Blanche Balhoff & McCollister to include “Employment Law Services” in the scope of services. Compensation will be increased by $100,000.00 for a total Contract not to exceed amount of $200,000.00 (Ken Dawson, Chief Administrative Officer)

According to the CAO the extra $85,000 approved on Tuesday breaks down this way:

  • $10,000 for legal work for West Ascension Drainage
  • $25,000 for Utilities issues (William Daniel originally wanted $200,000 if anyone believes Tuesday’s dog and pony show)
  • $50,000 will go to pay Roedel Parsons for work on Personnel Matters and “potential litigation dealing with insurance” which is Dawson-speak for…

Matassa and AP Government seek $545,487 in criminal fees, penalties

Which satisfied every council member not named Doc Satterlee.  Nobody seemed all that curious about the original plan to pay Roedel Parsons $460,000.