Sooner as opposed to later, East Ascension Drainage District has to clean up the mess made by six members at the June 28 Special Meeting. Called by Chairman Dempsey Lambert when Aaron Lawler and Teri Casso sensed an opportunity to take away Parish President Clint Cointment’s authority, a 6-4 vote to void an existing Intergovernmental Agreement will take effect after 60 days from “written notice” being given. Blasted by an angry citizenry, five recalls having been filed with a sixth promised, the majority has attempted to walk back the power play.
“I was not involved in the drafting of any documents (inaudible) Mr. Roux’s proposed contract,” Councilman Corey Orgeron during Monday’s virtual meeting of East Ascension Drainage District, addressing Councilman Joel Robert. “If you want to continue this little, childish spat we can continue this little spat at anytime you want.”
Which begs the question, who did draft the proposal to engage Roux’s services; and the Intergovernmental Agreement whereby President Clint Cointment’s authority over EA Drainage would be vested in the, yet to be created, position of Chief Operating Officer? The Parish Attorney denied having anything to do with the documents, claiming to have seen them for the first time just before Chairman Lambert gaveled the June 28 Special Meeting to order.
Subsequently, the public wrath at six members manifested in recall efforts, a new agreement engaging Bill Roux as a consultant was anonymously authored…
as well as a new Intergovernmental Agreement designating the Parish President as CEO with ill-defined duties paired with a COO. That proposal includes, under the heading OBLIGATIONS OF THE PARTIES:
- EACGDD does hereby appoint the Parish President, its heirs, successors, and assigns, the title of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EACGDD.
- Ascension Parish Council, through the Parish President, shall adopt the Intergovernmental Agreement passed by the majority vote of EACGDD on June 28, 2021 at the first Council Meeting following the execution of this agreement.
- EACGDD does hereby grant unto the CEO initially, and COO once hired, the complete right to use servitude rights including, but not limited to, the right to construct, maintain, inspect, operate, repair, alter, remove and relay the drainage system and ditches and canals using EACGDD equipment and appurtenances as may be necessary and convenient to such operations, together with all rights of ingress and egress to and from said drainage systems, ponds, canals, etc. for the purposes for which EACGDD was created subject to the advice and consent of EACGDD.
- The CEO shall hire SSA Consultants to create an organizational structure, delineate search criteria for a Chief Operating Officer (COO) and perform a national search for a COO to be presented to EACGDD for ratification and approval.
- The CEO shall have no objection to the contracting of William Roux to EACGDD in the capacity of drainage consultant to EACGDD and liaison between CEO, COO and EACGDD Board of Commissioners as per terms of contract attached.
- The CEO shall establish a total separation of assets between EACGDD and Ascension Parish to include but not limited to personnel and assets, both movable and immovable. Such separation list shall be presented to EACGDD for approval within 30 days of the execution of this agreement.
- The CEO shall provide a map of the Public Works facility, including office building and equipment yard with dedicated space for the exclusive right of use of EACGDD personnel and assets. This map shall be presented to EACGDD for approval within 30 days of the execution of this agreement.
- The CEO shall prepare a Mission Statement and a Drainage Operational Procedure Manual for adoption by the Board of Commissioners within 90 days of the execution of this agreement.
- All expenditures shall be approved in the budget or if not, budgeted by a budget amendment to be approved by a majority vote of EACGDD unless there is an approved state of emergency in place. There shall be no expenditures in excess of $10,000 unless approved by a majority of the EACGDD.
- A State of Emergency declaration that involves EACGDD must be brought before the EACGDD Board of Commissioners within ten days of the declaration for review and ratification of actions taken by the CEO.
- Any communications to the public pertaining to drainage shall be issued jointly between EACGDD and the CEO. No communications pertaining to drainage shall be issued without the approval of EACGDD.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
- Oversees all public drainage activities as defined by State Law and the EACGDD board within the East Ascension Consolidated Gravity Drainage District #1.
- Prepares, presents and adjusts annual budgets as required by State Law and the EACGDD Board.
- Attends or designate appropriate personnel to attend Drainage Board meetings to (a) present activity and project status reports; (b) provide substantive answers to Commissioners’ concerns asked at those meetings, unless answers are unavailable at that time. Under such circumstances substantive answers shall be provided at the following EACGDD meeting or sooner; (c) recommend and get Commission approval for new future projects and activities.
- Prepares a long term capital projects plan and budget for EACGDD review and approval within 90 days of the execution of this agreement.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
- The CEO and EACGDD shall meet within 30 days of the execution of this contract to establish goals and objectives for the remainder of 2021 and annually in December to establish goals and objectives for the ensuing fiscal year.
- Established goals and objectives shall be both in report form and supplemented by Gantt chart format providing the projects, timeline goals and budget allocation for each.
- The CEO shall undergo an annual performance evaluation in December which is to be scored by the chair and vice-chair of EACGDD, Chair of the Ascension Parish Council and chair of the Finance Committee. The accomplishment of goals and objectives as per Item E.2 shall be among the criteria used to evaluate the CEO.
According to CAO John Diez there are four, unnamed, council members involved in ongoing negotiations toward a compromise agreement. No member of the council would respond to Council Joel Robert’s direct question seeking that information, nor would any of them claim authorship of the latest proposal.
NOTE: We’ll be analyzing the Cointment administration’s counterproposal later this week.