St. John Parish employees undergo ethics training

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2011

LAPLACE – St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom recently hosted an ethics training event for top administrators, management staff, fire chiefs and elected officials at the St. John Community Center Atrium in LaPlace.

Parish spokesperson Paige Braud said the hour-long seminar was the second such training in as many years, but this year’s attendees included employees in management-level positions. Braud said training for employees was mandatory, but elected officials were invited to attend. Brent Durham and Michael David Dupree, attorneys representing the Louisiana Board of Ethics, discussed the role and responsibilities of the ethics board. The discussion touched on revised statutes affecting public servants, family members and vendors, in addition to requests for advisory opinions, complaints and penalties for violating the Code of Ethics. Gift giving, meals, post-employment restrictions and nepotism were also addressed.

“I remain committed to restoring faith and trust in parish government and public servants,” Robottom said. “Our employees must be informed and knowledgeable about ethical guidelines that may affect their ability to make a living.”

“I thinks it’s necessary,” said Division A Councilman-At-Large Lucien Gauff “It’s informative, and it helps to raise and maintain awareness of ethical issues.”

Meanwhile, District Attorney Tom Daley expressed his thoughts on the regulations and the importance of their clarity for parish employees.

“Deputy General Counsel for the Ethics Board Michael David Dupree’s presentation helped clarify ethics rules applicable to all elected officials, public employees and their immediate family members,” said Daley.

Braud said the feedback from employees was positive, as many were unaware that the Code of Ethics applied to all public employees.

“I thought the presenters were great,” said District Fire Chief Spencer Chauvin. “Although we were familiar with the material, there are always changes in the law, and it doesn’t hurt to get an update.”

St. John Parish Purchasing and Procurement Director Brenda Labat commented the training was “very informative” and said she plans to share the video presentation with all employees in the Purchasing Department.

Although the requirement for all public servants to obtain one hour of ethics training annually does not go into effect until 2012, Robottom implemented annual ethics training sessions in her first few months in office.