St. James replaces indicted justice of the peace

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 6, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

CONVENT – The St. James Parish Council at Wednesday night’s meeting appointed a temporary justice of the peace to fill the unexpired term of Eileen Jasmin, the former District 6 justice of the peace who was indicted last month.
Vondra Etienne Steib was appointed to the position near the end of the meeting in a unanimous vote from the council. Steib is the director of special education for the St. James Parish Public School System and will serve as justice until an election can be held to officially fill the vacancy. According to Parish President Timmy Roussel, it took so long because the council could not act on the resignation until it had gone through both the secretary of state and Supreme Court and had been notarized.
“I know Ms. Steib, and I appreciate her stepping up. She’s well-qualified for the position,” said Councilman Terry McCreary.
The special primary election will be held Oct. 19. The qualifying date for potential candidates will be Aug. 14 through 16.
Ridgely Mitchell, assistant director of operations for St. James Parish, also provided more good news about the status of the St. James Parish Youth Center. Mitchell met with Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack, and he said Waguespack had acquired the necessary waivers from the Department of Children and Family Services that would allow Assumption Par-ish enough time to complete the structural requirements needed to turn its current adult detention facility into a youth detention facility.
“He told us yesterday that come June 1, he’ll have everything in place that needs to be in place, and right now it all seem to be go to him from DCFS. He’ll be ready to take over the program the end of June,” said Mitchell of the sheriff.
Councilman James Brazan asked about the distance between the new and old facility, “I would like to guarantee a few beds because if our kids are put in there, we want something close that the parents will be able to go to and so the Sheriff’s Office won’t have to travel so far,” said Brazan.
Mitchell estimated the distance to between 10 and 12 miles. Mitchell also announced that Waguespack is currently requesting that the current employees of the youth center who are seeking further employment file an application for the new youth center at his office in Napoleonville.
The next St. James Parish Council meeting will take place on April 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Vacherie Courthouse Annex.