Monsanto vet named St. John Public Works Director

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – A 33-year veteran of Monsanto Chemical has been pegged to lead the public works department in St. John Parish.

Parish President Bill Hubbard said Thursday that he plans to introduce Clifford Bailey of Edgard as his Public Works Director at the October 14 parish council meeting. Hubbard said Bailey’s safety management experience at Monsanto would transfer over well to the public works department.

“It is a department that we desperately need to get back in order and Cliff is the best fit for the job,” Hubbard said. “He knows the department and has an eye for details.”

Since taking office in January, Hubbard said he has been spending a great deal of time trying to overhaul the parish’s public works department, which has lacked order and efficiency.

“That’s no knock on the employees, there are a lot of hard workers in the department, but the system is broken,” said Hubbard. “Our method of work order entry needs to be revamped and we need a system of adequate scheduling. Cliff and I have been working close and he brings some good ideas to the department.”

Bailey, who was hired by the parish in June as an assistant to the parish president, said in addition to developing an efficient scheduling system he also wants to bring some validation to some of the jobs performed by the public works department. He explained that there is no system in place to accurately calculate worth or expense for the parish. He said that the department has good work crews and great management in the field, but it just needs a better system.

“I want to make the public works department a place where everyone wants to come to work,” said Bailey.

St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe said Bailey has been handling the massive cleanup efforts in St. John in the aftermath of Hurricane’s Gustav and Ike. He said Bailey has been working with contractors that were brought in to clean out culverts and catch basins throughout the parish.

His response to the storm essentially put him in the position to be director,” Boe said of Bailey. “He has been valuable in what we are trying to do for public works.”

If Bailey receives the approval of the St. John Council, he will fill one of three positions that remain vacant in Hubbard’s administration. Hubbard has yet to name a chief financial officer or director of planning and zoning. Boe said the administration is still in the process of rewriting the planning and zoning department and said Hubbard is not in a position to name a director at this time. A consultant is running the department.

As for chief financial officer, Boe said there is no rush to fill that position since Hubbard’s Chief Administrative Officer Pat McTopy is a certified public accountant. Boe said Hubbard is looking to fill the position at some point.