What would the “Ideal Candidate” for AP’s first Drainage Director look like

It seems SSA snuck in another position…first we’ve heard of “Operations Director”

East Ascension Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. 1 (EA Drainage) approved a 12-month addendum to its existing agreement with Ascension Parish Government on October 18, 2021 which, among other things, secured President Clint Cointment’s oversight of all things drainage on the east bank.  The addendum also obligated Cointment to “contract and work with” an (unidentified but well-known) “subject matter consultant” to:

  • Create an organizational structure;
  • Delineate search criteria for a Drainage Director; and
  • Perform a national search for a Drainage Director to be presented to EACGDD for ratification within 60 days of the execution of this document.

The fruits of that fiasco will be presented at Monday’s EA Drainage meeting which has the potential to resume the chaos since competing visions have failed to yield agreement as of this writing. The arbitrary timeframe roundly (and rightly) ignored by all concerned, SSA Consultants (everyone knew it was going be SSA) has produced its work product for consideration tonight.

SSA Consultants’ IDEAL CANDIDATE

The ideal candidate will have knowledge of principles and practices of civil engineering as applied to drainage, the construction and management of drainage projects, and the oversight of major capital improvement programs. The successful candidate will use their technical expertise and interpersonal skills to meet the goals and objectives of the Parish. They will also build relationships with supervisors, staff, key stakeholders, Parish leadership, the community at large, and engineering consulting firms. The candidate will have a robust background in floodplain management and will be customer-service minded, an excellent project manager, and a passionate advocate for the health and safety of the citizens of Ascension Parish.

 

SSA gleaned the following from EA Drainage commissioners, individually or collectively we do not know as nothing like a consensus was ever achieved, not publicly at least.

  • We need a “drainage czar” – working with drainage consultants, to prioritize and oversee the construction and operations and maintenance of the most important major capital projects to improve drainage in Ascension Parish.
  • The new Director needs to be a seasoned leader and professional engineer.
  • We need to find an experienced project manager who can assist with the development and direction of:  Day-to-day issues and citizen complaints, and a parish-wide maintenance plan.

But, they’d settle for a candidate with the following qualifications…Minimum (and SSA does mean, “minimum”):

  • Seven (7) years of increasingly responsible experience in municipal public works operations or in a consultancy providing services to such operations, including three (3) years of administrative and management responsibility.
  • Equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in civil engineering, public administration, or a related field.
  • Possession of, or ability to obtain, a valid Louisiana’s driver’s license.

Desired qualifications:

  • A strong background in drainage, floodplain management, and/or stormwater management.
  • Have (or have the ability to obtain within 6 months of hire) and maintain ASFM “Certified Flood Plain Manager” certification.
  • Possession of, or ability to obtain, a Professional Engineer license from the State of Louisiana.

What Ascension Parish Government is lacking, and it is a problem according to most concerned, is an engineer on staff (preferably one degreed and practicing the hydrologic variety).  But those guys don’t grow on trees.

Option 1 Job Functions (curiously, none were presented for Option 2) include:

  • 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.
  • Assist with developing a parish-wide drainage maintenance plan to handle citizen complaints and urgent issues coupled with a program of preventive maintenance to include culvert upgrades, ditch clearance, off-road maintenance, mowing, etc. and oversee and monitor the implementation of this plan.
  • 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.
  • Investigate flood plain related complaints, develop corrective recommendations for identified problems, and determine action needed to effect compliance with established program standards.
  • 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.
  • Direct 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.
  • 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.
  • Maintain databases and files pertaining to drainage/flood plain management activities.
  • Coordinate flood map revisions for the Parish.
  • Perform other tasks and projects as assigned. Provide backup for other related divisions, departments, and programs.

 

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