“You have a leader that don’t want to communicate,” claimed a rambling Councilman Alvin “Coach” Thomas moments after the only question he asked had been answered during Thursday’s meeting of the Parish Council. “That is persurd. That is persurd.”
A constituent received a monthly water bill in the persurdly exorbitant amount of $18,000, reduced to $2,100 and the subject of an audit into Parish Utilities of Ascension (PUA)/ACUD #1 billing practices. That fact that Thomas had been informed of the unfinished audit on Wednesday, and the Utility Department’s Gavin Fleming repeated the information, did not prevent Thomas’ attack on President Clint Cointment.
Of course, Thomas’ rant had nothing at all to do with the billing snafu. Since Cointment shut down Councilmen Aaron Lawler and Corey Orgeron last week…
Thomas was the next man up to pinch-rant, the billing irregularity MacGuffin as pretext.
NOTE: In fiction, a MacGuffin is an object, device, or event that is necessary to the plot and the motivation of the characters, but insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in itself. The term was originated by Angus MacPhail for film, adopted by Alfred Hitchcock, and later extended to a similar device in other fiction. Wikipedia
Ever since purchasing Peoples Water Company in September of 2016, subsequently rebranding it PUA and attempting to consolidate with ACUD #1, the whole sorry state of affairs has been PERSURD. And yet, Thomas has expressed opposition to privatization.
That had nothing to do with Thomas’ diatribe either. Before beginning, the Donaldsonville councilman asked Chairwoman Teri Casso not to interrupt him; a sure signal of his ultimate intention. Why he thought Casso would object to another attack on Cointment is a mystery. Casso co-sponsored the agenda item along with Councilman Travis Turner.
“We’ve been having consistent inconsistent water bills between PUA and ACUD #1,” Thomas began, prefacing his remarks by pointing out that “this council” inherited the dilemma. “It’s difficult for my constituents to deal with.”
One of those constituents received the enormous bill and Thomas demanded an explanation. He attempted to have the issue added to the May agenda of the Council Utilities Committee, unsuccessfully, but he did not attack that committee’s chairman, Councilman Chase Melancon.
After Gavin Fleming provided the only answer there is, Thomas got to his real order of business.
“I do not direct, attempt to supervise any employee,” alibied Thomas out of nowhere and without being accused (not publicly at least because numerous sources say otherwise). “We have to communicate. I have to communicate. I need help on the west bank.”
He’s been “very, very disappointed in my first 15 (actually 17) months of being here, being disrespected and every so else. I ’bout had enough.”
That is not counting the decade Thomas “served” on the council, beginning in 1996. He was rendered ineligible by his bribery conviction, pleading guilty to accepting $900 in return for supporting a sewage treatment contract in June of 2006.
“You have a leader that don’t want to communicate. That is persurd. That is persurd,” Thomas concluded.
Asked by Chairwoman Casso if he was finished, Thomas leafed through the statement that had been written for him before requesting an answer which had already been provided by Gavin Fleming. For some reason the administration indulged the abject embarrassment that is Alvin “Coach” Thomas, this time in the person of Chief Administrative Office John Diez.
“Diez ain’t the president!” screamed Thomas. “I don’t want to hear nothing from you, Mr. Diez!”
Even with the 14-year hiatus, you would think that Thomas knows how government works; and that Ascension’s Chief Executive does not monitor billing of PUA. And Cointment had a full plate beginning on May 17 when his primary task was water of another sort on Ascension’s east bank.
“This problem was solved yesterday at 3:58 p.m.,” Diez declared. After having “spoken with Thomas” three times Wednesday, “I informed you that, as soon as we get this audit, I would bring it to you.”
Which did nothing to placate the obtuse council member.
“That don’t make it any better, Mr. Diez. This has been 15 months of this foolishness,” Thomas asserted, a claim with which no one can disagree.
THAT IS PERSURD!