Thomas Malik voted St. John Council chair; Hotard outlines role’s potential requirements

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, January 16, 2019

EDGARD — First term St. John the Baptist Parish Councilman Thomas Malik will serve as the Council chair in 2019.

The District 7 representative was unanimously elected by his peers during this month’s Parish Council meeting in Edgard.

Malik steps in for outgoing chair — District 3’s Lennix Madere Jr.

Lennix Madere Jr.

Council members filled out their leadership positions by also unanimously electing District 4’s Marvin Perrilloux as Council vice chairman, District 1’s Kurt Becnel as finance committee chairman and District 2’s Julia Remondet as finance committee vice chairwoman.

The process was complicated slightly before the votes when District 6 Councilman Larry Snyder nominated Malik for chair and Becnel for finance chair.

That motion was quickly followed by Division A Councilman at Large Larry Sorapuru Jr. nominating Perrilloux for finance chair, setting up a potential divided vote among Council members.

Division B Councilwoman at Large Jaclyn Hotard said the nominations indicated the “obvious” fact some of her colleagues on the Board had conversations about the chairmanship opportunities prior to the Jan. 8 meeting, a process of which she did not participate in.

Jaclyn Hotard

Hotard said she doesn’t like being put in the position of voting between her colleagues when she is unaware of who is interested in those positions.

Hotard further suggested if the Council was to “truly” follow Robert’s Rules of Order, the incoming Parish Council chairperson should steer meetings forward more briskly and offer less commentary.

“You’re not supposed to offer commentary; you’re not supposed to take a position one way or the other,” Hotard said. “You’re supposed to be the neutral party. If we are actually going more towards that, then that is something to take under consideration. That is why some Council members have chosen not to be interested in it.”

Hotard said former longtime Councilman Dale Wolfe never wanted the chairman’s position specifically because it limited his action during meetings.

For their part, none of the other Council members addressed Hotard’s take on the Chair’s responsibilities, nor did Malik offer much indication of what his style will be as last week’s Council meeting lacked some of the passionate debate and discourse of previous meetings.

During his chairmanship in 2018, Madere was never shy when sharing his stance on Council debate, often voicing the final opinion before calling for a board vote.

To avoid a contested vote, Perrilloux withdrew his name from finance chair consideration.

Snyder also said it has been the Council’s practice for at least three years to rotate the committee and main meeting leadership positions among those interested so as many Council members could experience them as possible.

— Richard Meek and Stephen Hemelt contributed to this report.