Retired parish employee appointed to council

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 29, 2010



LAPLACE – Just two weeks after longtime St. John the Baptist Parish Councilman Richard “Dale” Wolfe resigned to take over the Housing Authority, the council has already found a replacement in retired parish employee Raydel Morris.

The announcement came at the end of Tuesday’s meeting in LaPlace during the council briefs portion. The recommendation was not on the regular council agenda, and Councilman-at-Large Steve Lee made the announcement after a brief conversation with Wolfe, who was at the meeting but remained outside the council chambers.

Wolfe offered the recommendation but could not put it before the council because he is no longer a member. Lee said the council had already agreed to honor any recommendation the veteran councilman-at-large wished to offer.

“I know Mr. Wolfe had many willing candidates approach him,” Lee said. “He put a great deal of thought into this selection, and we will respect his choice.”

The appointment was approved 7-0, with Councilman Ronnie Smith absent.

“I’m just shocked, speechless,” Morris said after the meeting. “It caught me off guard. If I had known it was going to be tonight, I would have worn a suit.”

Morris, 53, is a resident of Reserve and native of St. John Parish.

He worked 24 years in what is now known as the utilities department before retiring from the parish in 2001.

Morris will serve in Wolfe’s place until a special election can be held to permanently fill the unexpired term, which ends in January 2012.

The council has yet to call the election, which could happen as early as April 2.

Morris previously ran for the council in 2007, competing against Councilman Charles Julien for the District 3 council seat.

That seat was previously held by Wolfe, who ran for the parish’s Division A at-large seat after being forced out of the third district seat due to term limits.

After the meeting, Parish President Natalie Robottom said she is happy with the appointment and said Morris should be able to jump right into the position.

“He’s the kind of person you won’t have to bring up to speed because he is already deeply involved in the community,” Robottom said. “He has been around a long time, and everyone knows him. I think he will do well in this position.”