Labat vetoes 2 resolutions; not worried about override

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 6, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / March 6, 1999

LAPLACE – St. John Parish President Arnold Labat vetoed two resolutionsof the Parish Council Wednesday and said he isn’t worried about a possible council override of the actions.

“Once they think about it, I think they’ll change their minds,” Labat commented.

The Parish Council will consider the possible veto overrides at its meeting Tuesday. It begins at 6:30 p.m.The first resolution Labat vetoed deals with signing an engineering contract with Shread-Kuyrkendall to do in-kind services for the U.S. ArmyCorps of Engineers. This surveying work, already planned for the parish’sMaster Drainage Plan, might have the effect of trimming back the amount of matching funds required for the hurricane protection levee.

Cost of the project would not exceed $160,000, according to the contract.

Labat vetoed the measure because the hurricane’s alignment has not yet been decided upon, so surveying work would be premature.

“Without knowing the alignment, it is impractical for the parish to enter into a contract for this work,” Labat’s veto message stated. “I foresee asituation whereby more surveying would be required than expected. If thisoccurs, will the parish be required to pay additional dollars for the work or will the engineer be expected to absorb the difference? Either scenario is not fair to one party.”Labat added Thursday, “We talked to the Corps and they didn’t exactly know what they’re going to do yet.”Also, Labat’s objections include no prior approval from the Corps for such in-kind work. Labat also felt the contract should be offered up forcompetitive bids.

Councilman Clinton “Rock” Perrilloux, who made the motion for this resolution, commented, “No doubt, he’s got another firm in mind. Hedoesn’t see eye-to-eye with Shread-Kuyrkendall anyway.”In the other matter, Labat vetoed a council resolution calling for a statewide search for a new recreation director, to take the job in January 2000.

At the last council meeting Labat offered Sgt. Ronnie Smith of the St. JohnSheriff’s Office as his latest nominee. The council took no action onLabat’s suggestion and instead passed this resolution.

Labat said he vetoed the resolution by saying it was unnecessary, that a director is needed immediately and that it is the parish president’s responsibility to nominate a director.

“I don’t think they put much thought into it,” Labat said of the council’s resolution.

Councilman Joel McTopy, who made the motion for the resolution, commented, “We have an advisory board which makes recommendations to the administration. However, they were not given the opportunity, so theycame to the council.”McTopy added, “He obviously had a political agenda different from everyone else’s.”

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