Cooperation needed among parish leaders

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 28, 2008

A quietly made announcement at a local community event this past week may turn out to be one of the most important bits of news to come from the St. John Parish leadership in quite a long time.

St. John Sheriff Wayne Jones was speaking in front of the crowd on Tuesday at the annual Senior Citizens Thanksgiving dinner, and announced that St. John Parish President Bill Hubbard and District Attorney Tom Daley had begun monthly meetings with the sheriff.

A big deal? Normally not so. But in St. John Parish, you betcha.

For years—even decades—there has been a pitifully small amount of real communication and cooperation between those three top leaders of the parish.

Quite frankly, the parish president, sheriff and district attorney are the power positions of any parish. In St. John it is no different. Not only will they make most major decisions that affect the citizens here, but they have the power at their fingertips to make sure many things are accomplished.

Or not.

In the past many years, those three positions have not worked together well. Sure at times there may be two of them who were friendly and got along, and maybe in different years those relationships flipped around.

But never in memory for St. John Parish has there been such a public show of cooperation as we are now seeing with Jones, Hubbard and Daley.

Beginning immediately, the three parish leaders will select a different parish restaurant each month for their meeting. Not only will they discuss matters they are all working on, and discuss ways they can help each other move those issues forward, but they will also be available for the public.

Jones is the veteran official of the bunch and has had a multitude of excellent programs to help the public, which have now been in place for years.

Hubbard, in less than one year on the job, has already overseen an amazing amount of issues moving forward for the good of the parish, some of which had languished for many years.

Daley, just recently elected to the D.A.’s post, has past, proven experience as an appeals judge and former local assistant D.A.

All three have made it clear they are intent on grabbing St. John by the horns and getting it out of the doldrums which have held it in some areas for years. That is not to say the parish has been backward or without progress—there certainly has been certain items of great positive note, such as the Veteran’s Home, National Guard Readiness Center and more.

But equally important has been the many areas of concern that hadn’t been moving forward, and the three parish leaders are stepping into the parish spotlight to let it be known they are tackling them—together.

Now they will be doing it in a public forum for the St. John residents to see, and talk about. No doubt, an excellent move.