Dale Hymel reflects on 20 years of service

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2012



LAPLACE – For the first time since 1992, St. James Parish on Monday will have a new chief executive as Dale Hymel, who declined to seek re-election in the fall, leaves office to make way for incoming Parish President Timmy Roussel. Hymel recently sat down with L’Observateur to talk about his time in office.

L’Observateur: You are leaving office with more than 20 years of service under your belt. Do you feel you left anything unfinished? Was there something you wish you had accomplished that you hadn’t?

Dale Hymel: Putting an affordable community sewage system into place within unincorporated areas of the parish is a project that I had hoped to accomplish. That will be an important project for the next administration.

L: Is there one thing that stands out as your most memorable accomplishment for the parish while in office?

DH: Maintaining a close working relationship between myself and the members of the council regarding the direction of the parish.

L: Talk about how much the parish has grown since you started. What are some of the strong points, and where might things be lacking?

DH: The strongest points would be the positive financial position of the parish, and my administration’s strong ability to operate the parish efficiently.

L: How has working in public office affected you? Has it changed you? Do you see anything differently?

DH: With 12-years under my belt as the finance director for the parish, I felt confident that I was prepared for the challenges and duties required of the parish president.

L: What kind of advice have you given to your successor, Timmy Roussel?

DH: As the parish president-elect takes office, I would advise him to work alongside all of the governing bodies on projects while leading with his heart and beliefs intact. It is crucial in such an important role to never lose sight of the main objective, putting the needs of the community and the residents first.

L: What do you think you will miss the most? What won’t you miss?

DH: I will greatly miss the relationships I have established with my employees and my constituents. Although my administration strived hard to be proactive, gossip or wrong information seemed to have a strong presence at times within the parish. I will not miss that form of negativity.

L: Did you ever envision holding this office for as long as you have? What made you pursue a career in public service?

DH: Holding an elected position was not an original career aspiration, however I have certainly enjoyed the last 20 years as parish president. It is an honor that the many residents and members of the community gave me their trust and faith by voting me into office.