Parish’s financial guru steps down

Published 12:11 am Saturday, April 30, 2016

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish will have a new chef financial officer on Monday.

Vince Lucia

Vince Lucia

Vince Lucia is retiring after more than two decades of service in order to spend more time with his family.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the parish I love for more than 25 years,” Lucia said. “I am looking forward to time off with my family and traveling with my wife, but will miss all of my coworkers and persons who I worked with over the years.”

St. John has won different awards under Lucia’s guidance, and the parish received an Unqualified Audit for the past 10 years, a certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Finance Reporting for the past 12 years and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the past two years.

“I want to thank the residents of the Parish for allowing me to serve them,” Lucia said. “I truly believe that the new CFO and finance staff will continue moving the department forward.”

Ross Gonzales is taking Lucia’s place, according to Chief Administrative Officer Laverne Saulny, who spoke at Tuesday’s Parish Council meeting.

“Gonzales is a certified public accountant with an accounting degree from the University of New Orleans,” Saulny said.

“He has worked in private practice since 1982 and more recently served as finance director and coordinator for Housing and Development for St. Bernard Parish Government. Mr. Gonzales brings to the parish a comprehensive understanding of government operations and an intimate knowledge of finance and parish funding.”

Gonzales said it is an honor to serve St. John the Baptist Parish.

“I’m excited to start,” Gonzales said. “Everybody has been extremely welcoming to me.”

As the new CFO, Gonzales’ job responsibilities include managing the day-to-day finances of the Parish, making sure staffers stay on budget and making sure the Parish doesn’t run out of money.

“I’m looking forward to being a success and helping the parish move forward,” he said. “We’ve got challenges like any other parish has, so my job is keeping those challenges at the forefront, keeping everyone informed and coming up with a way to work our way through them.”

Gonzales has been training with Lucia for the last six weeks to prepare for the new position.

“I’ve only known Vince for six weeks, but I feel like I’ve known him for years,” Gonzales said. “I think my feet are bigger but I’m going to have a tough time filling his shoes.”

Gonzales wants residents to know he is a dedicated worker who will work hard to succeed as CFO.