Orgeron skips out on Employee Appeals (not before another spectacular display of ignorance)

Corey Orgeron (file photo)

Councilman Corey Orgeron has his priorities in order, and performance of his duties as the representative of District 4 does not top the list.  Much has been made about Orgeron’s skipping out on three Employee Appeals (and the final 1:20:00 of Thursday’s meeting of Ascension’s council), none of it a credit to Orgeron.  According to multiple sources, he dressed down members of President Clint Cointment’s administration (which he threatened “to ruin” according to one bystander) on his way to the parking lot as ten colleagues returned to Executive Session.

Moments later a 7-3 vote overturned the termination of Purchasing Director Joan Shivers.

Reinstatement required “a two-thirds vote” of the membership present.

Had he been present, maybe he would have sided with the administration which would have turned the tide against Shivers; unlikely given Orgeron’s antagonism of Cointment in their first six weeks on the job.  But he would have had to ignore…

Preferential treatment by Purchasing Department under Matassa administration

which did not seem to bother seven other council members.  Two other appeals were conducted in public, without Orgeron, and the president’s terminations upheld.

What was so pressing that the District 4 representative had to go? Orgeron attended a church auction…

Given his earlier performance, maybe it’s just as well.

‘Tis better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. (Variously attributed to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, you can’t go wrong there)

Proving again that the Bar Exam is a minimal competency test, lawyer/councilman Corey Orgeron has failed to master the simplest council functions.  Mundane to the point of innocuity, an ordinance was introduced to “allow the parish president to purchase or acquire property” (right-of-way) to facilitate the building of a roundabout at the intersection of Roddy/Churchpoint roads.

Orgeron’s penchant for over-complication has resulted in a pattern…delay until he can catch up to his colleagues.  Because he was:

“not sure who we have in the administration that would be handling these right-of-way acquisitions.  I know that several of us have asked the administration to provide us a hierarchy; who’s, since the change, since the transition, who’s in what department and who’s heading up some departments.”

NOTE:  Here’s a primer.  Chief Administrative Officer-John Diez; Infrastructure Division-Ken Dawson; Finance Department-Gwen LeBlanc; Public Works-Ron Savoy; Utilities-Gavin Fleming; Planning and Development-Jerome Fournier; Human Resources-Randy Watts; Lamar Dixon Expo Center-Kyle Rogers/Ricky Compton (both listed as General Manager); Recreation-BJ Romano.  Those are the big ones.

“At this time I’m thinking, until we have the information knowing that the person who will be responsible for obtaining these right-of-ways, that they’re duly qualified and that they meet the requirements of that position, I think we should, maybe, defer a vote on this particular issue until we get to that stage.  I don’t want someone in charge of purchasing these right-of-ways that may be under-qualified and put the parish in jeopardy.

I ask for a second to move to defer until we have that meeting with the parish president, we can find out who’s gonna be in charge of this particular process.”

Ascension has been “to that stage” for three years.  Orgeron’s absurd musing was met with a momentary silence, all but one of colleagues aware that HNTB engineers has been tasked with right-of-way acquisition among its many duties for the MoveAscension project.

“HNTB has contracted with two private firms that do, exactly, this kind of work,” Councilman Aaron Lawler, who chairs the Transportation Committee, would explain.  “And they’re doing an excellent job.”

Orgeron’s motion would still garner a second from Councilman Alvin “Coach” Thomas, whose eligibility to sit on the council is of recent vintage.  Sufficient time having elapsed since completion of his prison sentence for bribery, Thomas put his name back on the ballot last year.

“It may just be that our two new councilmen are not aware,” Chairwoman Teri Casso attempted to excuse the inexplicable.

The learning curve is not normally so steep.

“What assures us that it’s HNTB that will take these actions on behalf of the parish president?” Orgeron inquired, an understanding of the remedial tutorial having eluded his grasp.  “I guess the question I have at this point is, why does the ordinance not say HNTB?”

We can only wonder if Casso regrets appointing Orgeron and his spectacular ineptitude to chair the Utilities Committee.  There is a $215 million sewer agreement to negotiate (or not), with council oversight provided by Utilities.