Lack of communication dooms effort

Published 12:01 am Saturday, June 13, 2015

The flies were buzzing in LaPlace this week, and the storm that is following certainly has the stench of something foul.

Again, the local and New Orleans-based media descended upon LaPlace and St. John the Baptist Parish, and again it wasn’t to report something positive from our fair parish.

Where do we begin?

St. John the Baptist Parish Council Chairman Michael Wright said the elected representative board he leads is investigating Parish President Natalie Robottom for concerns of malfeasance in office and Charter and state law violations.

Robottom countered, saying the charges are baseless, cowardly and politically motivated.

Wright, who announced in May he was running for the very same seat Robottom is seeking a reelection bid this fall, seemed to deflect such criticism by announcing Thursday he is not seeking the parish president’s seat, instead declaring he will run again for his District 5 Council seat.

In addressing the media Thursday, Robottom said her practices with temporary employees and special assistants follow protocol approved by this Parish Council and those before them.

St. John Parish District Attorney Bridget Dinvaut came out Thursday with an opinion detailing 16 points where her office feels the Parish President has gone astray, adding “the parish is currently operating in violation of both state law and Parish Charter in providing certain benefits, including retirement and vacation pay, to temporary employees who are not eligible for the same.”

At her Thursday news conference, Robottom said the Parish administration meets with members of the district attorney’s office bi-weekly and, in those meetings, was never informed the parish was incorrectly following protocol.

At Tuesday’s Parish Council meeting, Robottom was not in attendance because of an injury and subsequent surgery.

At Thursday’s press conference, no one from the Parish Council was in attendance as Robottom stated her case.

It seems Robottom and Dinvaut have not talked personally about the causes for concern, either.

Some of the top elected leaders in St. John the Baptist Parish have all found time to make their points to the media about what is wrong and who is at fault.

What a shame they never found time to gather together in the same room to actually work for a solution. So yes, the flies were buzzing in our parish this week, and what a smelly show it was.