President Kenny Matassa inherited a 403-man personnel roster from his predecessor, with a total payroll of $17,437,530 according to records produced by Ascension Parish Government on February 10, 2016. Matassa had been on the job 34 days, having already gotten rid of former lead engineer Bob Horner in a personnel move to belie the monumental additions to the roster in the offing. As of June 5, 2019 the employee roster numbered 540 individuals (excluding 229 “Sports Officials”) with a total payroll of $22,700,130.
The roster omits three individuals known to be in the parish’s employee who work for the council with another (approximately) $150,000 in salary. What the parish admits to is a 34% increase in personnel, and a 30% increase in total payroll. Average salary declined from $43,269 when Matassa took office to $42,037 last month, meaning every 25 employees added equals another million dollars to the payroll, give or take.
Over the last nine months another 41 employees have been added to the roster, over 30 of them during the current calendar year. That does not include hires since June 5 which, judging from numerous Job Postings by the parish, could be substantial.
Matassa got out of the gate slowly, having added a paltry four employees by July 11, 2016. Six months later and that number climbed by 26 as the roster numbered 433 employees by March 7, 2017. Two months later and the total was up to 454, an additional 21 hires over a two-month span which is the most in any compressed time period since he took office.
By March 23, 2018 Ascension Parish employed 484 individuals who were not classified pursuant to the new titles to be implemented soon thereafter.
By September 20, 2018 clerks and secretaries had become “Administrative Specialists;” operators and laborers became “Maintenance Technicians.” And there were a lot more of them since the roster topped 500 employees for the first time with a total payroll of $20,950,000.
The new titles came courtesy of SSA Consultants which also recommended creation of Job Descriptions two years ago…still waiting. SSA also warned Matassa and the Parish Council that crushing retirement debt, already over $3 BILLION (with a “B”) due and owing in 2017, was something to keep an eye on. That was two years, and nearly one-hundred employees, ago.
By March 27, 2019 the payroll had increased to $21,988,370 when 527 individuals were receiving checks (and accruing retirement benefits) from Ascension Parish Government. By last month another 16 employees had been added and the payroll came to (at least)…