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Council upset with new phone system in courthouse

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 2, 1998

LAPLACE – St. John Parish residents aren’t the only ones fed up with the$35,000 phone system recently installed at the courthouse in Edgard.

Everyone is.

Except perhaps those courthouse employees who ignore the phones to let voicemail pick up messages.

The issue came up at Tuesday’s meeting of the St. John Parish Councilduring Civil Defense Director Bertram Madere’s regular report. ParishCouncilman Perry Bailey voiced his discontent with the phone system used to direct calls from a central number to various offices and individuals.

That number, 1-877-497-8836, was intended to make doing business with the courthouse offices easier and more efficient. The opposite result hasapparently taken place.

“It’s the worst thing we ever did!” exclaimed Parish Councilman Ranney Wilson. “We created a monster is what we did!”Madere said the technology exists to record who is ignoring phone calls and the list can be forwarded to the appropriate official for attention.

In another matter, the Parish Council voted to approve the purchase of the Peavine Road boat launch from Rep. Bobby Faucheux and Gary and MarionKeating for $65,000.

The deal hammered out by parish officials includes a $10,000 donation to the parish recreation program and the dropping of the lawsuit filed against the parish for its late lease payment.

The parish, since it began leasing the boat launch three years ago, made $300,000 of improvements, including extending the concrete ramp and adding lighting and a breakwater.

“I feel like it’s worth it,” Parish Councilman Nickie Monica said. “It wouldbe a shame if we lost it.”In other business, the Parish Council: Approved a lease extension for the Baker-Heritage building on West 10th Street, Reserve, to the Port of South Louisiana.

Received two bids for surplus hosiery equipment from two North Carolina firms and took them under advisement.

Heard a presentation on a computerized mapping system from Planning Director Laurette Thymes, aimed at having data on all water and sewer lines, industrial pipelines, electrical lines and a zoning map on an easy- to-use computer program.

One person from each department would be trained to make upgrades as necessary, Thymes added.

She said much of the data is contained only on paper and never added to maps, especially rezonings; and many maps as well are tattered beyond use. The $70,000 contract is 90 percent complete, Thymes concluded. Heard a report from Port Commissioner Brent Tregre on activity at the world’s third-largest tonnage port, which trails only Rotterdam and Singapore.

The port is also working on a master plan of future development, expected to be complete in December, Tregre said. A year-end report will be madeto the Parish Council in January.

Hired Don Mince, part owner of Geanie’s Seafood, as the new parish code enforcement officer at a salary of $1,250 per month. Mince has also beenactive in co-sponsoring Sheriff Wayne L. Jones’s deputy of the yearprogram.

Appointed Parish Councilmen Clinton “Rock” Perrilloux and Ranney Wilson as alternates to the River Region Caucus as backups to members Nickie Monica and Perry Bailey. The next meeting is set Nov. 12 at Frog’sLanding Restaurant, starting at 6 p.m. Heard Parish Councilman Dale Wolfe’s complaints of a $100-per-month pay raise for Public Works Director Greg Bush made by Parish President Arnold Labat.

“This is the most disgusting administration I’ve ever heard of,” Wolfe declaimed, and snarled at Labat, “What do you think we are, man? There must be a medical term for this. You will pay and pay dearly.”

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