Letter to the Public from Russell Rachal, Parish Councilman

The Natchitoches Parish Council met in regular session on June 17, 2019. There were several agenda items, but most of them were appointments/reappointments to various boards and Ordinances for zoning changes.

One item of interest was the employment of the Director of Public Works, which is occupied by Mr. John Richmond. Mr. Richmond is running for the position of Natchitoches Parish President. Several constituents of various Council members have expressed concerns in relation to Mr. Richmond being employed by the Parish Government and seeking election to the President position, which is ultimately the over the Director of Public Works position. The constituents have expressed concerns stating that it appears that Mr. Richmond is suddenly starting to fix roads now that it’s election year, when nothing seemed to be getting done prior to his announcement that he was running for the President position. We, as the Council, were advised that no one was sure if this was allowed or not.

On May 29, 2019 the Council was advised by email that Department of Public Works was currently unable to purchase a certain type of road repair material, and in order for Mr. Richmond to purchase a different type of material we will need to either call a special meeting to pass an emergency budget amendment Ordinance or issue an emergency declaration. I advised the administration that I wanted a meeting instead of allowing the Parish President to declare an emergency. The Chairman of the Council allowed the emergency declaration because a quorum of Council members was not available for an emergency meeting. I responded by email that I was in opposition to this, as there were some unanswered questions that remained.

On May 30, 2019 I sent an email to Mr. Rick Nowlin and Mr. John Richmond, pursuant to the Public Information Act requesting the following information:

1) In the email that I received from the Natchitoches Parish Clerk on May 29, 2019 I was advised the Department of Public Works is currently unable to purchase a certain type of road repair material. Please provide what type of material this was in reference to, as the Emergency Declaration states, “Certain types of road repair materials, including but not limited to, Winn rock, crushed concrete, stone and gravel.

2) What constituted the emergency, being that I was advised by Mr. Richmond on May 20, 2019, during the Regularly scheduled Natchitoches Parish Council meeting that there was no emergency in the rock budget.

On June 01, 2019, I received a phone call from Mr. Richmond stating that there was actually no emergency, but he just needed the money to get work done faster so it would look better.

During the meeting on June 17, 2019, I asked Mr. Richmond if it was true that he called me and advised me of this on June 01, 2019. Mr. Richmond advised that he did indeed call me and advise me that it was no actual emergency. I advised Mr. Richmond that I was in receipt of a Facebook post by Councilwoman Patsy Ward Hoover on May 22, 2019 at 7:21 pm stating that, “Mr. Nowlin has promised to visit Bermuda Road tomorrow. I have asked for emergency funding. I can be reached at 318-527-9294”.

Mr. Richmond had already stated that this material was placed on Bermuda Road. I advised Mr. Richmond that I was already aware a week prior to his request to declare an emergency that he was going to ask for one.

I was advised that our legal counsel advised the Administration that this was not an emergency, and advised them not to declare one, but they did it anyway.

Please understand that the Council has not changed the way we report roads and projects that are in need of repair. If the administration can fix roads now, they could have been doing it.

Thank you for your continued support and God Bless you and your families.


Russell Rachal
Natchitoches Parish Council
District 5

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

18 thoughts on “Letter to the Public from Russell Rachal, Parish Councilman

  1. At the end of the day, we can vote anyone in and the roads won’t get fixed. It’s simple economics. We are one of the largest (square miles) parishes, but one of the lower populated ones. There is simply not enough money to repave every road in this Parish. Especially all the 10 mile remote roads that lead to 3 houses. All the complaining and yelling about it won’t solve the problem.

  2. Hahahaha! Let me translate:

    No way do we want this guy to be parish president! He might actually try to do something and not let us get our way, just like Nowlin. If we can hold out, we can go pack to the old Police Jury system and run it into the ground….again!

    Remember the old police jury, people? These people got to be king of their own little kingdom and let everyone kiss their ring. The current system has completely disrupted their little power trip because people actually have to WORK TOGETHER to get things done. And these self-important individuals just can’t seem to make that happen. Just like the national scene, they think if they throw a big enough tantrum, things will eventually go their way. And that’s why you have attempts to sabotage parish president candidates and attempts to go back to the old police jury system. They think if they can just hold out and go back, it’ll all be better. They can force their will, whether it benefits the parish or not. The hilarious irony of this story is scrutiny, transparency, and sunlight is exactly what the current setup allows and what they are trying to do away with. But that’s not going to change until their constituents quit voting for good politicians and instead vote for good people.

  3. Not being able to purchase Winn rock is not an emergency.

    On June 01, 2019, I received a phone call from Mr. Richmond stating that there was actually no emergency, but he just needed the money to get work done faster so it would look better.

    Look better for who and for what?
    MR. Richmond can you explain please?

    • Mike this guy has done more in his short time in his position than the rest of these people have done in years! It amazes me that the same exact words were said to different people. I know him well and first, he ain’t that stupid to make a comment like that to people that obviously are against him. He’s not there little puppet and they can’t stand it. All of the others have had years to fix this mess and haven’t done anything.

      • That was a copy and post from the original post. And the fact mr.richmond confirmed it in a public meeting kinda takes the BS out of it.

    • Mike I find it very hard to believe that a man as intelligent and has done more in his time in his position than all of the others have for years, would say the same exact words to several people, that are obviously against him. It makes no sense. I hope everyone can see through this BS and vote someone in that really cares and get rid of all of the ones that have done nothing but sit and draw a check. He is not their puppet and they can’t stand it. He will not put up with the same thing that has went on for years! I will continue to back him 100% and I hope and pray others will give him the chance.

      • Jason you might check up on me and where I stand on the board before you run off at the mouth about something you don’t know!! I’m not a mouth piece for anyone,just want the best for the parish!

  4. Even though I disagree with most of the council this seems to be a factual statement by Mr Rachal and should be investigated by the States Attorney General. Richmond should have resigned his position prior to joining election.

    • Why? Mr. Richmond has as much right to run for public office as anyone else.

      I was on the fence between Waskom and Richmond, but all this fuss coming from the do-nothing council tells me they don’t want Richmond as Parish President. Well, I’m off the fence. I’m supporting Richmond!

      • Smart Choice! They are trying their best to keep someone that cares and Will do something and not bow down to their choices, out of this. It is shameful that this person ever write this mess. Maybe he needs to be removed. Sad!

  5. So Russell Rachal throws in with the rest of the clowns on the council.

    Ah, when did Mr. Richmond become Director of Roads? I recall it was January of this year, officially. Maybe last December. Regardless, Mr. Richmond has only been Director of Roads about 6 months…less than a year. So people are complaining that Mr. Richmond has started fixing the roads only in the past year??? Really? Was he supposed to be fixing roads prior to becoming employed by the parish?

    Please, folks, don’t be as stupid as Rachal, Paige, Hoover, Bedgood…whoever else. VOTE THESE CLOWNS OUT!!!

    • Jason is absolutely correct. Mr Rachal is quite aware that the reason it was an emergency was because the parish did not have enough material on hand and the supplier was about to close for 3 weeks. Mr Richmond said then that 3 weeks without material was an emergency in his world. I would tend to agree. We cannot afford to lose one day fixing roads in this parish

      Mr Richmond is getting things done and apparently that has a few people upset

      • Richmond said himself there was NO emergency,this was to make things look better. Not in office yet and already making things up. What does make it look better mean? A road? Or himself? THINK PEOPLE!!! you bit hook line and sinker.

      • There was no emergency, Richmond said himself! It was just to make himself look better at election time. Geez you people are slow. This is why these morons keep getting elected.

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