Council accepts veto of grass cutting, janitorial contracts, approves consultants

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010



LAPLACE – The St. John Parish Council on Tuesday chose not to override a second veto from St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom to extend parish grass cutting and janitorial contracts.

The move may put an end to a month’s worth of conflict between the administration and the council over the seven contracts. The council still has the option to override until the next meeting, but most seemed content with leaving the issue alone.

The move keeps a one year extension in place for all of the contracts, which gives the administration some time to request new proposals for the services, which are currently costing the parish about $400,000 a year.

“We’ve spent time with the contractors and they have said they are comfortable with the process,” Robottom said. “They understand it is not about the work they are doing, but more about the process.”

In other action from Tuesday, the council approved a $300,000 contract with SSA Consultants to help the administration facilitate Robottom’s Presidential Advisory Committee meetings, but not without some debate.

A handful of council members question the administration and stressed that they would have liked to see the contract open to a public bid process.

“I don’t have a problem with the contract,” said Councilman Ronnie Smith, who abstained from voting. “It’s the procedure that it didn’t go out to the public and allow someone from the parish to get the contract.”

The final vote on the contract was 6-0 in favor, with Smith abstaining. Councilmen Dale Wolfe and Danny Millet were absent.

The council also authorized administration to go out for bids on a drainage project on Balsam Street in LaPlace and an airnasium for the west bank park complex in Edgard. Both projects are tied to the parish’s bond issue approved in April 2009.

The council also approved an ordinance for the parish to accept $1.4 million in public improvement bonds for sewage and drainage projects throughout the parish. The projects include replacement of several sewer pipes and manhole covers in older parts of the parish.