Monica rebuffed on new appointments

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / February 11, 2000

LAPLACE – The honeymoon is over.

St. John Parish President Nickie Monica was rebuffed by the Parish CouncilTuesday night when he presented his appointment for the South Louisiana Port Commission.

The council tabled his appointment of Bill Hubbard and almost shot down his appointment of Bertram Madere as director of Public Safety.

When Monica put Hubbard’s name on the table Councilman Lester Rainey Jr.

questioned why an appointment to the port commission was at the top of the list.

“In light of the fact that the port is part of the state government, this appointment can wait,” Rainey said. “We need to get on with theappointments of other directors for St. John Parish. I have nothing againstMr. Hubbard, but I want to get St. John rolling.”Councilwoman Melissa Faucheux wanted to know what criteria Monica had for picking Hubbard.

Monica said Hubbard had been in the construction business and had been recommended by the New Orleans Steamboat Association, the AFL-CIO and state Rep. Bobby Faucheux and Sen. Joel Chaisson.This did not satisfy Melissa Faucheux.

“I’m not ready to support anyone,” she told Monica, “because I haven’t gotten a rsum or any information from anybody until much too late. I agree withMr. Rainey that these are good candidates, but this was not well-preparedand I was not informed of anything.”Councilman Allen St. Pierre had the same complaint.”If this had been presented at the beginning of our term, I would be able to make a decision. I have nothing against Hubbard, but there was nopreparation,” he said.

Monica defended his actions by saying, “The parish is moving, and I am committed to a deadline of two weeks in which to name all the directors.”In Monica’s defense, Councilman Steve Lee said, “This is his first time as president. I’m going to vote to confirm because we need to get going. I hopethat Nickie will improve communications. But the port commission is ready tomeet, and I want to hold Monica responsible for his choice.”Council Chairman Duaine Duffy thought all the arguing was pointless.

“The appointment is the president’s appointment,” he told the rest of the council. “Lobbying the council is a waste of time. If we don’t confirm tonight,the situation goes on and on. Tabling the matter does not make it go away.Besides, if the council doesn’t decide in 60 days, then the governor gets to appoint the port commissioner.”But Councilman Job Boucvalt defended the dissenters. “We must moveforward, and we must support our president, but their vote means something and if they want time to wait, that’s OK with me,” he said.

Faucheux then called for a motion to table the nomination until the Feb. 22meeting. The motion passed 7-3 with Ranney Wilson, Duffy and Lee votingagainst it.

Monica than put forth the name of Bertram Madere for director of Public Safety.

Since Madere is already the acting director of Public Safety, Rainey wanted to know why the council was asked to vote on it now.

But St. Pierre defended Madere by saying, “Mr. Madere is certified with thenuclear power plant. He is a good choice. Besides, Mr. Monica has to run thegovernment with five less directors. Let’s get this done as soon as possible.”Duffy echoed the sentiment.

“I will support the nomination,” he said, “but I will also pressure the president to make the other appointments.”Wilson wanted to now if there were other people in Public Safety or Civil Defense that could handle the responsibilities.

Madere, who was in the audience, said Karen Gilmore in Civil Defense was certified and could run the department of Public Safety.

The council voted 7-2 to accept Madere with Rainey and Wilson voting against his appointment.

Later on, Wilson explained his vote.

“I didn’t think we needed him,” he said. “We have Miss Gilmore who is certifiedand has 16 years of service. This used to be a part-time position. Now wehave three full-time positions. I just see this as a duplication of services.”

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