Ascension Parish Government has advertised a job opening for one of the top tier positions, one subject to ratification by the Parish Council. Jerome Fournier will, according to well-placed sources with the parish, soon step down as Director of Planning & Development after seven years on the job. Hired in June of 2016, two months before the most devastating natural disaster in Ascension’s history, Fournier had his hands full early on.
Brought on by former parish president Kenny Matassa, Fournier filled the vacancy left by the unceremonious dumping of Ricky Compton in the most political of maneuvers. Fournier has done his job under the radar with a minimum of controversy. Avoiding the tumult and rancor, the rampant partisanship contaminating parish government under Matassa, Jerome Fournier always behaved professionally with fairness toward all parties.
That took some doing.
Fournier was among the select group of top-tier employees who survived to serve in President Clint Cointment’s administration, which also says something about the man. So does the fact that his hiring was the culmination of an actual national search, snagging the position without the normal political machinations.
His tenure confronted several unique challenges; the Great Flood of 2016, COVID lockdowns for the better part of a year for two. Most recently, the department he led played a significant role toward improved development practices during a ten-month subdivision moratorium.
Ascension is a different parish than it was a decade ago. Jerome Fournier played a part in that transition, the final effects of which remain to be seen.