Wright: Leadership IDs St. John Parish concerns

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The month of January was a busy yet productive one for our newly elected and re-elected officials.

The five council members returning are:

• Jaclyn Hotard — Council at Large Division B

• Lennix Madere — Councilman District 3

• Marvin Perilloux — Councilman District 4

• Michael P. Wright — Councilman District 5

• Larry Snyder — Councilman District 6

The four new council members sworn in are:

• Larry Sorapuru — Council at Large Division A

• Kurt Becnel — Councilman District 1

• Julia Remondet — Councilwoman District 2

• Buddy Boe — Councilman District 7

On Jan. 11, the first meeting of the year, the Council elected officers for 2016 and confirmed the requested appointments of Parish President Robottom’s Administrative Team. Her appoints have many new faces and some new/familiar faces: LaVerne Saulny – Chief Administrative Officer; Vince Lucia – Chief Financial Officer; Baileigh Rebowe Helm – Communications; Torri Buckles – Economic Development; Rhonda Lemons – Health and Human Services; Nykya Freemont – Human Resources; Kerry Watkins – Parks & Recreation; Alexandra Carter – Planning and Zoning; Brian Nunes – Public Works; Blake Fogleman – Utilities Director.

Marvin Perilloux was elected by the Council to serve as Council Chairman, and I was elected Council Vice-Chairman. Jaclyn Hotard will serve as Finance Chairman, and Lennix Madere will serve as Finance Vice-Chairman.

This past weekend, Council Members Buddy Boe, Larry Sorapuru, Jaclyn Hotard and myself, along with Parish President Natalie Robottom and members of her Administrative staff, visited Washington DC to promote St. John the Baptist Parish and discussed several important issues with federal delegation and committee members including the West Shore Hurricane Protection Levee, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), commerce and infrastructure needs and issues critical to the business community.

Each year, the River Region team holds a River Parishes Economic Development Breakfast in Washington D.C. that gives attendees an opportunity to hear from local and federal legislators on the strength and opportunities of the River Region.

It also provides an opportunity for each parish to boast on their vision for the future while also showing the strength of the region, voicing our needs and concerns moving forward to tackle some of the extremely important issues we face in Southeast Louisiana.

It also assists with fostering support on a number of bills and legislation that greatly affect our region.

Tuesday, Jan. 26’s meeting was packed with a number of items.

Some of the large items were extending the contract for engineering and design services for the HMGP LaPlace Heights Drainage Improvements Project; Extend the contract for engineer and design services for the HMGP Belle Pointe Submersible Pumps Project; Extend the design contract for the HMGP Marigold Street Drainage Improvements Project and award a certificate of substantial completion for the 2015 Road Improvements Program.

We are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead of us and we’re ready to get to work.

Michael P. Wright is St. John the Baptist Parish Council District 5 representative. Contact him at District5@sjbparish.com.