EA Drainage set to revisit job description, salary of elusive Drainage Director

EA Drainage Chairman Chase Melancon

Given the inability to identify, then hire a Drainage Director, EA Drainage Board is scrambling to extricate its membership from a trap of its own devising.  Six members, led by the master manipulator from Council District 7, thought it advisable to divest President Clint Cointment of operational control over East Bank Ascension drainage works.  An ill conceived plan, executed haphazardly, it blew up in their collective face.

And they are not done clearing away the rubble left by the explosion.  That is left to President Clint Cointment’s administration and the new EA Drainage Chairman, Councilman Chase Melancon.

The whole purpose of their power grab, to strip Cointment’s powers to be vested in a Drainage Director, is already six months behind schedule without an end in sight.  On tonight’s EA Drainage agenda is an item under General Business:

g. Discussion of Job Description for Drainage Director (Chairman Chase Melancon).

238 days since the Board voted to hire a Drainage Director, and it has yet to firm up the Job Description…go figure.

Attached to Chairman Melancon’s item is a document labeled Exhibit A – Duplicated Duties.  It includes a section entitled JOB FUNCTIONS which lists 13 duties to be assumed by the elusive Drainage Director.  Ten of that baker’s dozen worth of tasks are already being performed according to the document.

Ascension’s Departments of Planning and Development, along with Stormwater Management and the Building Department, is already tasked with the following:

  • Provide flood plain coordination between state, local and federal agencies to ensure legal requirements are met. Recommend improvements to the program as needed to ensure compliance.
  • Oversee field inspections and gather field data to be used in enforcing and/or monitoring development in the floodplain and to ensure compliance with permits and after flood activity review.
  • Monitor permitting processes. Review and as appropriate, authorize zoning regulations and building permits.
  • Assist with maintaining and updating a post disaster flood response program following FEMA guidelines, including a substantial damage determination process, post disaster permitting process, repetitive loss analysis, documentation of flood elevations, etc.
  • Working with the EACGDD Board and the Parish’s Director of Communications, create and implement a formal flood plain management public awareness and outreach plan. Maintain and update floodplain information on the Ascension Parish website.
  • Maintain databases and files pertaining to drainage/flood plain management activities.

HNTB Engineers has already been tasked with:

  • Oversee the development of the parish’s comprehensive floodplain master plan and assist with the development of a capital improvement plan for planning, design and construction of recommended projects to reduce the impact of flooding in the Parish.
  • Secure funding for program by writing and securing grants and working with other agencies. Provide project management and grant coordination. Provide periodic status reports as required by grant provisions.
  • Gather and analyze data, prepare staff reports and formulate department recommendations regarding land use flood hazards; including providing written and oral presentations. Propose revisions and updates to Parish ordinances as necessary.
  • Coordinate flood map revisions for the Parish.

If hiring a Drainage Director will save Ascension’s taxpayers the mega-millions pocketed by HNTB, we are all for it.  Unfortunately…

A measly three new duties remain unassigned.

  • Oversee the development a parish-wide drainage maintenance plan to handle citizen complaints and urgent issues coupled with a program of preventive maintenance to include
  • Investigate flood plain related complaints, develop corrective recommendations for identified problems, and determine action needed to effect compliance with established program standards.
  • In coordination with the Director of Planning and Development, assist with the development and administration of the departmental budget; prepare the five-year capital improvement program; direct the preparation of reports on the budgetary and staffing requirements of proposed policies and projects; assign projects and coordinate work of staff as appropriate; and have general accountability for the effectiveness of all operations.

Does that justify “the new position with a salary pay range of $135,000 to $210,000 per year” included in the October 18 agreement approved by the Board?  The next item on Monday’s agenda:

h. Discussion of salary range for the Drainage Director Position (Chairman Chase Melancon).