PARISH COUNCIL DEFEATS ORDINANCES TO IMPROVE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT AND COMPLETE ROAD PROJECTS

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Rick Nowlin, Parish President

At the Parish Council meeting on February 21, 2017, the Parish Council defeated two ordinances supported by the Parish President. Both were designed to improve the operation of the Parish highway department.

Ordinance No. 001 – 2017 would have created the position of a part-time Engineer within the Parish government. The purpose of this ordinance was to allow the Parish to move the Director of Public Works, Mr. Nick Verret, to the part-time Engineer position, with a corresponding reduction in salary. As the Parish Engineer, he would no longer be occupied with road maintenance and could focus his attention to the completion of plans and specifications for capital outlay road projects and other road projects for which funding is available. The first three projects would have been Coco Bed Road, streets in Payne Subdivision and Hampton Road.

By using Mr. Verret on a part-time basis, the road plans could be completed at a much lower cost than using an outside consulting engineer. The Parish is doing the engineering plans on these projects in order to be eligible for the State funds for construction.

After a lengthy discussion the Council defeated the ordinance. Mr. Russell Rachal and Mr. Doug deGraffenried voted for the ordinance. Ms. Patsy Ward Hoover, Mr. Rodney Bedgood and Mr. Chris Paige voted against the ordinance.

Ordinance No. 002-2017 would have revised the job description for the Director of Public Works to no longer require candidates for the position hold a professional engineer’s license from the State. Had the Council approved the Engineer position, it would no longer be necessary to hire a professional engineer as the highway department director. The Parish would be able to employ a director with more hands-on experience in road maintenance at a lower cost than a professional engineer.

After discussion, the Council defeated the ordinance. Again, Mr. Russell Rachal and Mr. Doug deGraffenried vote for the ordinance. Again, Ms. Patsy Ward Hoover, Mr. Rodney Bedgood and Mr. Chris Paige voted against the ordinance.

In my opinion, both of these ordinances should have been adopted by the Council. It is interesting to note that the Council members who voted “No” on both ordinances have been very vocal in their criticism of the highway department and in the delays in road project engineering. One would have thought that they would have jumped at the opportunity to expedite the project engineering and have new management of the highway department. It did not happen. It just goes to show that logic and politics have little to do with each other.

Even though the ordinances were defeated, the Parish administration will continue to do what it can to complete the project plans and manage highway maintenance with the organization we have.

From Rick Nowlin, Parish President, Social Media

10 thoughts on “PARISH COUNCIL DEFEATS ORDINANCES TO IMPROVE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT AND COMPLETE ROAD PROJECTS

  1. It seems the mistake the Parish made was electing the three “Saboteurs” disguised as council representatives in the first place. Word on the street is that the opposition to this ordinance was more about not having “their” man hired into the newly created position.

  2. a new position to distract you from original problem .LOL
    Why not take a pay cut or quit,either way nothing is being done,still
    potholes out there with loose gravel in some if your lucky enough.

  3. I have been away from Clarence and Natchitoches Parish for 28 years. (I come back many times a year but I don’t recall any new roadway projects just patches on Greenville Drive/Clark Road, etc. Where is their tax money going? #shameonyou. I will also check with my contacts in the media and have them take a look at where the road money is going or why roads are not being repaired. Time to fess up.

  4. So, you are creating another position? We are only hearing one side of this issue. It sounds like , the qualifications for someone to fill Verrets position, has been predetermined before the position was created. I wonder who ?

    • I think there’s something going on behind the scenes. The PWD need to have a degree but I am highly pissed the roads in Clarence and very bad. People can’t get to church because the roads are older than Greenville BC 1908. Stop it and get the roads done. Yes , time to vote them out and put in people who will grow the Parish and improve the roads and drainage system. My family (The Village of Clarence), driving cars on roads not fit for a tractor. Does your streets look like these? Next time I am home you can bet I am coming to visit some of you and look you in the eyes and ask “IF NOT NOW-WHEN?#sameonyoujurors. Where’s the 5 and 10 year plan for roads in the Parish?

  5. 1. With current limited funding I do not see a need to add a position and I’m certain there would be no cost savings.

    2. No reason to pave Hampton when there are roads in worse needs. Road priority should not be based on who lives there or what influence they have.

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